Apr 05 2020

Expanding Student Networks Through Internships

What gives students the opportunity to gain valuable skills, earn money AND broaden their networks? Internships!

By Leah Keys, XTH Internship Coordinator

Crosstown High’s new Internship Program gives students opportunities to pursue learning experiences outside of the classroom. Why an internship? As our students grow toward adulthood there is a need for purposeful work opportunities where they can learn a skill. Working with a mentor and gaining experience in a field, the opportunity nurtures independence, expands a student’s network and builds social capital. The personal and professional connections created while working with mentors in the Memphis community open doors to our students.  

Internships are driven by a student’s interest in a specific field. They can access a network of opportunities using an online platform called ImBlaze. Students download the app onto their phones to browse, pursue and suggest opportunities. Our Internship Coordinator, Ms. Keys, can view their ImBlaze activity, invite students to a meeting and make a plan for their pursuit.

The first step in the process is an informational interview with a skilled professional in the student’s area of interest. The student prepares questions for the professional and then goes to the work site for the  interview. This gives the student the chance to learn details about the professional, their field, and the business or organization for whom they work. In the second step, the student requests a shadow day with their potential mentor, allowing the student a first-hand experience of what it might be like to work there. In the final step the internship becomes official at an approval meeting with the student’s support team, which consists of their parents, a Crosstown High staff advisor, and Ms. Keys. Once they begin their internship, students use the ImBlaze app to check in and out, set goals, and reflect on their experiences.  

The burning question remains: Are the students paid? Yes! Crosstown High currently has a grant that makes it possible for students to receive compensation for their internship work. Once students complete a minimum number of internship hours, plus deliverables (assignments in career studies) they qualify for a payment called an Internship Award.  

In the past few weeks 10th grade students began pursuing opportunities with: 

The Humane Society of Memphis

The Well at Church Health 

Playback Memphis 

Church Health YMCA

Dorothy Day House

Running Pony

Working Law Firm

ForeverReady Productions

Five in One

Archer Malmo

Crosstown Shared Art 

MEMpops Kitchen

Compost Fairy

The Hub Automotive

Pigeon Roost

Crosstown High Athletics Department

Congratulations to these students who recently landed internships:

Rachel Ellis - Crosstown Theater with mentor Jazmin Miller

Christopher Boss - Innovative Dental Technologies with mentor Darin Throndson

This program is always expanding the network of opportunities and is open to suggestions for  career studies and internships. If you have a contact in a specific field or questions about the  program, please reach out to Internship Coordinator Leah Keys at leah.keys [at] crosstownhigh [dot] org.