The future is bright
Youth internship program gives students career opportunities of a lifetime
November 30, 2020
Sometimes finding a career path that is truly right for you can be hard. Money is always involved, and finding something you love to do can take some time. Some kids don’t even get the chance to show their worth as they may not get the same opportunities as others.
The St. Louis Internship Program (SLIP) provides hope and opportunity for high school students in financial need through paid summer internships, intensive employability training, and year-round college and career planning.
“We always want to be able to hand out these great opportunities to our students along with paid internships in corporate settings,” Executive Director & Alumna Shanise Johnson said. “Our intention is to offer the program to as many students that are interested in getting on that professional career path.”
SLIP offers a wide variety of internships. The internships can be anywhere from law to health care to global manufacturing. Donating is made easy, as there is a direct link on their website. (stlouisinternship.org)
“Most of them are for entry-level positions, so for most of our students, it is their first job,” Johnson said. “The goal is to develop the student’s foundation in having an excellent reputation and a worker with a great work ethic.”
Johnson took part in SLIP when she was younger and agrees that the organization set her up for success in regards to entering the work world. Returning to the organization was something she felt she had to do.
“The love for seeing individuals grow continued to press upon my heart,” Johnson said. “That’s what led me to come back and work for SLIP. A ‘calling’ is a great word to describe it.”
SLIP does not hand out internships right from the get-go. Students do the work necessary in order to earn them.
“There is a lot of work that has to be done by these students,” Johnson said. “ We want to teach all of these students on an individual basis and provide them with reinforcement that they can then take into their work output.”
Season Walker, an intern that has directly benefited from SLIP, felt unsure of her career interests until hearing about the organization.
“I knew I always wanted to do something with law. It was really hard for me to figure out if I wanted to go to law school or not,” Walker said. “Based on what I displayed in my interviews, the career type I was placed into was human services.”
Even with the pandemic arising, Walker feels she was able to use the tools she learned from SLIP to keep her successful with her work.
“When COVID first came along, it was hard, but I looked at it as a new way of life,” Walker said. “I learned how to interview people properly, write resumes, and got great prep for the ACT. I was set up for complete success by SLIP with the internship at a law firm I had this past summer.”
Walker feels she was developed strongly and set up for total success by SLIP. She wasn’t sure if she’d be ready for the work world if SLIP would not have been in the picture.
“I had been preparing for my internship for several months so when I was done I felt great and accomplished. You have to earn the internship, it is not just given to you,” Walker said. “I was very grateful that I had earned it and achieved success after many months of preparation when I wasn’t even sure about what career path I wanted to take at first.”
Even though SLIP is serious in regards to career and professional development skills, Walker enjoyed the way the organization made her feel cared for and wanted to see her succeed.
“The atmosphere of it was great because the facilitators always told jokes and had a smile on their face,” Walker said. “It was a very enjoyable time even though we were focused on a very serious topic and it is a great feeling to know that you have people who really care about you and want to see you succeed with what you’re doing.”