Business

'It's more than a job': Paid internships are available for island teens

Top photo, Jamiesha McDaniels is an intern at The Whale Museum, doing docent work and helping to manage the Orca Adoption Program. Middle photo, Paige Fields, with sign-up sheet, is organizing the San Juan Island Library’s Summer Reading Program. Bottom photo, Marissa Murray assists tourists at the San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau. - Scott Rasmussen
Top photo, Jamiesha McDaniels is an intern at The Whale Museum, doing docent work and helping to manage the Orca Adoption Program. Middle photo, Paige Fields, with sign-up sheet, is organizing the San Juan Island Library’s Summer Reading Program. Bottom photo, Marissa Murray assists tourists at the San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau.
— image credit: Scott Rasmussen

It’s not too late for teens to nail down that summer job.

The Workforce Development Council matches students between the ages of 16 and 20 with internships at various businesses and non-profits in the community and pays for the students to work these positions that are usually only available to volunteers.

Only three students have signed up for paid internships through the council for the summer. The coordinator of the program, Minnie Knych, says she has the resources to take on 10-12 more interns and will be accepting applications until July 15.

The three current interns have been placed throughout the community and are involved in an array of projects.

Jamiesha McDaniels is employed at The Whale Museum, doing docent work and helping manage the Orca Adoption Program.

Marissa Murray is at the San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau, refining her secretarial skills and answering tourists’ questions about the island.

Paige Fields, who developed an interest in library science during a high school class, is organizing the children’s summer reading program at the San Juan Island Library.

“I’m enjoying it,” said Fields of her position at the library. “I can tell already it’s going to be a good summer.”

While Knych admits that the council (which pays interns minimum wage) can’t compete with other businesses’ salaries for summer workers, she sees the internship program as a unique opportunity for students.

“It’s more than a job; it’s a total learning experience,” Knych said.

In addition to being matched with a paid internship, Knych meets with the interns on a bi-weekly basis and they are trained in dressing for success, customer service, and communication skills.

Along the way, they also create a portfolio in which they identify their transferable and technical skills, develop a resume, collect letters of reference, and self-evaluate their work performance.

The hope is that the interns will use their portfolio as a tool for obtaining future jobs.

Knych is hopeful that more island teens will take advantage of this summer work opportunity, especially since businesses in town are hiring fewer seasonal workers because of the current economic situation. She has found that there is a desire for more Workforce Development Council interns in the community; the Convalescent Center and Chamber of Commerce have shown particular interest in taking on additional interns.

For an application, stop by the Northwest Workforce Development Council Office at 540 Guard St., No. 210, or call Knych at 378-8662. Application deadline is July 15.

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