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Pickens Technical College is deeply involved in Aurora Public School System. PTC sponsors an Executive Internship Program, which matches high school students from the area with companies within the field they are interested in and that need (unpaid) help. The program gives high school students a chance to gain experience in an industry of their choice while earning service learning hours and gaining scholarships. Students in this program are carefully selected and matched with local companies looking for young interns to help them with work projects and activities. Executive Internship Program Coordinator Tiffani Antinora proudly wrote in her press release concerning the recent event that students “often contribute a fresh perspective and new ideas that may be useful to sponsoring companies.”

This program helps local businesses find better workers, both for the duration of the internship and for the future. It puts promising students in contact with companies they may one day be interested in working for and helps these students build experience.

Recently, the Executive Internship Program held The Sponsor Appreciation event to honor companies and individuals who sponsored PTC students. In addition to recognizing the sponsors, the event also helps students hone their public speaking skills as they thank sponsors publicly (sometimes in front of an audience of 200-300 people) for their unpaid internship experiences. The ceremony was hosted by Rangeview High School students Edwin Chaing and Madison Jones. Sponsors of the many companies involved in this program from the surrounding area attended, as well as school personnel, and a legion of proud parents. Several students spoke to the audience about their experiences in the program and how it has helped them build their futures.

According to Antinori, many students earned the President’s Volunteer Service Award for their work in the community, and many more earned these awards in the fall semester – when there are many more students participating in the program. Nine students, including Madison Jones, one of the hosts for the event, earned bronze medals for accruing 100 hours of service. 11 students earned silver medals for completing 175 or more hours of service, and three, including Jones’ co-host Edwin Chiang, earned gold medals for 250 hours or more of service.

Some of the students involved in the program also earned scholarships from the Executive Internship Program Advisory Committee. In all, over $4000 in scholarships were given out at the Executive Internship event with the number and amount of scholarships varying each semester. Scholarships are awarded at both the Fall and Spring Sponsor Appreciation events every year.

Right now, the students are looking for executive internships in the fields of engineering, healthcare, and law enforcement, just to name a few. Additional companies and organizations were willing to sponsor students for internships in a variety of fields that are needed on a regular basis. Our driven, engaged, and talented interns are ready and willing to work for companies and organizations to try and break into those industries.

High school seniors in the Aurora Public Schools district can apply for the Executive Internship Program. Students can expect to spend between eight and 20 hours a week at their internship site participating in normal company activities and working on special projects as outlined by the company they’re interning for. For the first three weeks of the internship, interns also attend classes as a part of the program. After interns start their internship in earnest, they continue to meet with each other to reflect on their work and experiences. They also complete self-assessments and complete personalized learning plans as a part of the program.