WINSTON-SALEM CHAMBER ENGAGES AREA BUSINESSES IN THE CAREER ACADEMY INTERNSHIP PROGRAM: WELCOMES INTERN DESMOND SPARKS
Winston-Salem (July 23, 2018) – For students in the WS/FCS Career Academies program, the highlight of their immersive learning experience is a professional-level internship at a company in their field of interest. Career Academies are offered at seven high schools, focusing on a variety of career paths including finance, information technology, health sciences, hospitality and tourism, public safety, construction and design, pharmacy tech, biotechnology, and more.
The Career Academy students are prepared to add value to the businesses that hire them. By their junior year, these students have already received rigorous academic and industry-specific training in school. Students also have field trips to colleges and companies related to their academy theme. Thus, Career Academy students are ahead of the average high school student in work-readiness skills due to continued exposure to the business community.
Through the Chamber’s partnership with the school system, the Chamber engages the business community in offering these valuable internship experiences to Career Academy students. Students are placed with various Chamber member organizations, including here in our own office.
This summer, the Chamber is excited to welcome rising senior Desmond Sparks to our team as part of the internship program. Desmond’s internship placement was made possible by a sponsorship from Allegacy Federal Credit Union.
Desmond’s job responsibilities include providing general support to the school system’s Traditional Volunteer Program and the Chamber’s Senior Academy and Corporate Volunteers Programs, assisting in planning and implementing a WS/FC Schools Employee Appreciation Event, and participating in leadership development activities with all members of the Chamber staff.
Desmond attends Mount Tabor High School where he is a participant in Crosby Scholars and has been selected for a leadership role on the Varsity football team. Desmond has participated in a variety of extra-curricular and service-based opportunities which have given him a range of experience, making him an ideal internship candidate.
Desmond describes his academic accomplishments and plans for the future, saying “In the Mount Tabor Academy of Sports Marketing & Hospitality Management, I developed advanced skills and connections that I will continue to use through college and beyond. This past year, I was an A-B Honor Roll student and received the Top Project Award for my AWED (Another Way to Educate and Demonstrate) project. As a member of the Crosby Scholars program since 2012, I have participated in many community service projects across a diverse group of non-profit organizations. My dream is to attend either the University of Michigan or UNC Charlotte where I would major in Industrial or Architectural Engineering. I dream about being an entrepreneur and starting my own engineering business.”
Chamber President and CEO Mark Owens praises the Career Academy internship program, saying “as a former intern myself, I know how valuable it is to gain on-the-job experience at a company in a career path that you aspire to. The Career Academy program here in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County has achieved national accolades for providing exceptional learning experiences that are truly preparing students to be the next generation of an incredibly talented local workforce. Our team is lucky to have Desmond with us this summer to provide valuable input to our Education team and to our organization as a whole.”
Companies who are interested in hiring a Career Academy intern still have time to participate—students must complete their 120 hours prior to graduation. To learn more contact Rodessa Mitchell at 336-728-9222 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABOUT THE CHAMBER—EDUCATION INITIATIVES
The Chamber manages volunteer services for WS/FC Schools. Through this partnership, the Chamber handles volunteer registration, screening, and training policies for all of the school system’s approximately 14,000 volunteers. In addition, the Chamber facilitates two specific volunteer initiatives— the Corporate Volunteers program and Senior Academy.
The Corporate Volunteers Program pairs volunteers with elementary students to help students achieve grade-level reading proficiency. The program is available at 15 schools for K-2nd Grade students. The Chamber provides the curriculum, recruits 300-400 volunteers for this program, and assists school contacts with on-site trainings. This program is supported by corporate sponsor Kaplan Early Learning Company.
Senior Academy provides one-on-one mentoring for high school seniors at-risk of dropping out. The program has an over 90 percent on-time graduation rate. Senior Academy is available at Carver, East Forsyth, Glenn, North Forsyth, Parkland, and Reynolds.
Partnerships in Education
The Partnership Program connects businesses and community organizations with schools to assist in providing a quality education for every student in Forsyth County. Each partnership is a unique relationship that focuses on specific aspects of academic achievement such as improving attendance, behavior, test scores, parent involvement, and teacher morale. The Chamber helps coordinators at each school to implement the program.
Teacher Recruitment and Retention
The BUS Stop – Businesses United for Schools Program aims to recruit and retain quality educators. The Chamber recruits local businesses to offer incentives for WS/FC school system employees. Employees may present their WS/FCS ID card at more than 100 local businesses for various incentives and discounts.
Real World Connections
The Chamber helps to recruit business professionals as Classroom Speakers, helps to connect schools to local businesses and organizations willing to participate in Work-Based Learning opportunities such as career days, field trips, job shadowing experiences, mentorships, or internship placements, and supports the Career Academies programs. In addition, the Chamber organizes the Construction Industry Council—a group of area construction trade professionals and educators who are addressing workforce needs in the construction industry and working to develop programs to promote career opportunities to students.
ABOUT THE CHAMBER
The Greater Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce is In Business for Business. Our mission is to provide and advocate for the best environment for businesses of all sizes– because when businesses succeed, the community thrives. The Chamber represents nearly 1,200 area businesses providing economic development assistance, market research, government relations, educational programs, and connecting events to help businesses grow. The Chamber’s programs support small business creation, technology-driven development, public school student achievement, and higher education initiatives. Membership scholarships are available to minority- and female-owned companies as part of the Chamber’s commitment to equal opportunities in the workforce.
The Chamber is an independent nonprofit organization with a history that pre-dates the joining of the cities of Winston and Salem. For more than 130 years, the Chamber has been integral in the evolution of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County.