“When my students talk to me about their career dreams, I try to connect them to an internship or job shadowing opportunities.” ~ Courtney White
(Transcript available below)
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Heidi Higgins: Hi, there. I'm Heidi Higgins, and you are listening to K12 On Learning. Do you remember what it was like when you were trying to decide what your major would be in college while you were still in high school? Or what job or career you wanted to have right away? I remember high school counselors and my parents doing their best to help me, but getting the experience to explore what I thought I wanted and knowing enough to make a decision was really up to me.
I felt kind of lost. I remember being frustrated while job searching because employers wanted people with experience. How do you get experience before your first job? I'd heard about internships, but always thought those were reserved for college kids. Today, we're talking about a game changer for high school students. Something I wish I had access to when I was in high school. Stride is about to open a new internship portal.
This is a place where any Stride high school student can look for, learn about, and sign up for an internship. I've invited Courtney White to join us. Courtney is a Stride career success coach and has been instrumental in bringing this innovative portal to online high school students. Welcome back to the podcast, Courtney!
Courtney White: Thank you so much for having me, Heidi.
Heidi Higgins: You actually came before when we were talking about career success coaches. Let's remind everyone about your role as a career success coach for high school students.
Courtney White: I am a student success coach, and I meet with students to talk about jobs, career planning, college applications, financial aid, pretty much any question you could think of that a high school student might have for planning and preparing for life after high school, segueing into a career, and making sure if the student is going to college, that we have all of the ducks in a row, college selection. Should I take the ACT, CSAT?
And if a student is not going to college, definitely options for that student as well in terms of, how do you plan out a career, what are some good fields to go into, trade schools, this kind of thing. All things life after high school is what I do here to prep Stride students for the next level.
Heidi Higgins: Yes, Courtney, your description of what you do is exactly what I needed to have access to when I was in high school. Stride high school students are very fortunate to have you and the other success coaches to help them along the way. Tell us a little bit more about this new project, this new internship portal.
Courtney White: Here at Stride, we are looking forward to the upcoming launch of an internship portal, and this search portal empowers high school students to search and apply to thousands of open internship positions and meaningful work experiences. The whole point is to deliver access to timely career and internship content.
I'm saying a lot to just say there will be a place where students can log on if they are looking for an opportunity to connect with real world work experience and looking to connect with internship opportunities that will give them some insight to what hopefully their planned career path is. We have this portal coming up. The internship opportunities are going to be available for virtual hybrid and onsite formats.
They vary by organization focus and compensation, meaning some will be paid, some will be unpaid, but there will be a wide variety of opportunities for students to explore via this internship portal that we are expecting to launch in coming week.
Heidi Higgins: Thank you, Courtney. This news is powerful and will expand a student's experience and maybe even his or her confidence. Let's talk a little bit about some specifics. Define what an internship is and why it may be important for a student to consider while they're in high school.
Courtney White: An internship is basically an opportunity. It's like a work experience. An internship is sometimes used in exchange for like a course credit. But in this case, these internships are really just an opportunity for students to get handson experience, particularly in their field of study or field of interest is what an internship is geared towards. A big difference between a job and an internship is often internships are unpaid.
The real focus is on getting that experience, getting something on a student's resume to show that they have had some experience with this field. And it's very great for students an internship opportunity because it's a wonderful opportunity for them to see, okay, I think I want to be a, I don't know, IT person, for instance. An internship will give them a close view on, okay, is this the direction I would like to really take my career, by observing people who are actually in the field.
Heidi Higgins: Looking at real life experience and they might decide that they don't like it.
Courtney White: Mm-hmm (affirmative). That happens.
Heidi Higgins: And that's a valuable experience as well. You might get an opportunity to see the door open and the lights go on and say, "This is what I want to do," or you might be able to say, "You know what? I might keep looking, because I need to look further at something that will interest me more."
Courtney White: Absolutely. That's one of the main reasons why as a student success coach, I'm a huge advocate for internships. When my students talk to me about their career dreams, I try to connect them to an internship or job shadowing opportunity so they can see firsthand what the hours are like, what the actual hands-on work is like, what the environment is like. Internships are perfect for answering those questions.
Heidi Higgins: This is excellent. That limited experience that an internship would provide will be an added part of their resume, so that when they go out and look for a fulltime employment, or even short-term, part-time employment while they're in high school, they can say, "Look what I've done. This is something I've already done. I know what to do. I have experienced it. Give me a try."
Courtney White: Absolutely. That is exactly what an internship does. Our, again, upcoming portal will explore so many options for students. We're very excited about this project.
Heidi Higgins: This internship portal is very innovative, and it's really a big deal for Stride. What makes it so unique?
Courtney White: Employers will have access to this talent pool. It's a big deal for us because we're offering a lot of exposure for students to reach out and get these internship opportunities that they're having trouble finding. It'll be like a onestop shop. They won't have to use multiple avenues to try to find specific internships. And unlike some of those big name job boards, our portal will focus only on internships for high school students.
Many times you come across an internship that's for a college age student or for a student who is on a professional level. These internships are geared for high school students, and it's very groundbreaking in this regard. There are not a lot of schools that have this offering of working with a success coach to build your resume, to build your career readiness skills. And now there's internship portal that's launching that will help you bring all of those skills together, show employers what you're made of.
This is huge for Stride. It's huge for the employers who are looking for high school talent, and it's great for students who are looking for these opportunity.
Heidi Higgins: Tell me a little bit more about what a student can expect when they enter the portal. What does it look like?
Courtney White: It really looks like a big search engine. You'll have some areas where you can filter your search by what you're looking for specifically. You'll also be a able to type in what kinds of opportunities you're looking for, and you'll certainly be able to distinguish between whether you're looking for remote, or if you're looking for something on site.
You can really just kind of use the search bar to type in what you're looking for and explore that. It'll be very user friendly for high school students and their families to kind of peruse, see what's there. Once you find something that you're interested in, you'll be directed to that third party site to go ahead and fill out that application. If you are enrolled in a Stride free public school, you can also lean on your success coach for assistance with that too.
Great thing for students if they're trying to get work experience. They can just log onto the portal once it launches and see if they can do paid, unpaid, maybe search for specific hours. All kinds of things will be available for the student who's seeking out the internships.
Heidi Higgins: Thanks again, Courtney. You mentioned the portal as an opportunity for students to go and explore. The success coaches, like you, have been for quite a long time now out. How is that experience going? Are you still loving it?
Courtney White: The success coaching, honestly, is the most rewarding career I have had. I really enjoy working with students, I guess, because I wish I had someone to help me guide my career. Maybe I would've landed on this sooner, but the experiences that I'm having are quite varied. I'm working with a lot of students who have college questions naturally. A lot of students are curious about financial aid.
They're hearing all the buzz from their parents on the news about student loans and students are becoming very savvy and wanting to avoid that. I do a lot of counseling about how to find scholarship grant. What are the best courses of action to take when you're looking for schools? What should you look for if you're wanting to graduate with as little debt as possible? I also talk to many students who have decided completely that they may not think that college is the best route for them.
I love helping students brainstorm for what could be next, coming up with career development plans based on student interest. The coaching experience is going very marvelously. I love it. Students who have questions are just worried about their future in general. If you have many anxiety about what is next, how do I go from where I am now to where I hope to be as an adult, a success coach is a perfect resource for you to answer those questions, and I answer questions like this every day.
Heidi Higgins: One of the students you spoke with recently shared, "I not only have a success coach. I have a friend and a trusted friend." What a great tribute to you. I thought that that was just a delightful comment.
Courtney White: I'm so happy to hear that I'm a friend to my students. That is definitely what I aim to be. We don't want stuffy, uncomfortable coaching sessions. We love when students feel comfortable to express themselves and talk about what's on their mind. We do encourage parents who might be listening to this broadcast to sit in on the session. See what it's about. Ask questions to help your student get to the next level and to ease your anxieties about what their future could look like.
Having a plan is half of it sometimes, half of figuring things out. It's just seeing it on paper, working with someone who does career research for a living who can point you into the directions of what industries are trending well and all of this information. It is a great offering. I absolutely love it. The students are loving it.
Heidi Higgins: Stride students get the opportunity to explore the new internship portal and have the help and support of a success coach. Wow! I think this is a win-win, Courtney.
Courtney White: That's it. Love it. I hope students will join. Sign on. Reach out to a success coach with questions. We are here to help.
Heidi Higgins: If you have a Stride high school student, take a look and encourage your student to explore their future. Thanks again for joining us, Courtney. Thank you for listening to K12 On Learning, sponsored by Stride. To learn more about the Online Public Schools powered by Stride K12, the Stride Career Prep Program that fosters lifelong learning, or any private school or individual course offering, please go to k12.com or stridelearning.com.
Special thanks to 3k Studios LLC for writing the music for us. We hope you'll subscribe to this podcast and leave us a good review. Join us again next week for K12 On Learning!
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