February 17, 2016

“Real world” work experience is a term many college students often hear about when applying for jobs. At Summer Search, we’re always looking to find ways to help our students get that experience, both in college and even in high school.

For many years we have been able to leverage our generous network of supporters to connect Summer Searchers in college with internship opportunities. Last year, we had more than 160 students who participated across our seven locations.

One of those students is Summer Search New York City‘s Yomayra Guerrero.

While in school at Nazareth College, we set up her internship at global shoe brand Steve Madden, with a little help from former NYC Board Member Ed Rosenfeld (Steve Madden’s CEO).

As Yomayra explains in the above video, this internship provided her with a lot of valuable real world work experience. She learned the importance of taking initiative in her career, which she will be beginning soon, once she finishes her senior year at Nazareth!

New High School Internship Pilot

Traditionally, our summer internships have been reserved for our college students, while our high schoolers’ summers are spent on various wilderness or community service trips, where they experience physical/mental challenges and triumphs, and develop new relationships and leadership skills.

Well last year, Summer Search New York City added a new summer experience option: a high school internship.

Thanks to funding from one of our New York City board members and the Pinkerton Foundation, we launched our high school internship pilot program, in partnership with the NYC-based nonprofit Futures and Options.

During the summer of 2015, 11 NYC high school juniors were placed in paid internships in a wide range of industries — from finance, to government, to nonprofit. The students worked 25 hours a week for six weeks, and attended weekly professional development workshops facilitated by Futures and Options.


Naiomi C. (pictured above), spent her summer interning at Quad Graphics, a publishing firm in Manhattan. She said this experience helped encourage and invigorate her to look ahead to not only college, but beyond, towards her future career:

Now I’m ready to start thinking more about my future, and (ready) to mold it into something that I really want to do… I want to research different available careers and colleges that will pique my interest, now that I am closer to knowing what I want.”

The hope of this pilot is to see if this kind of internship experience could still provide the same kinds of positive student outcomes as our traditional summer experiences, and whether it can feasibly be incorporated into Summer Search’s program model.

And, so far so good! Initial feedback from our student pilot participants has been positive, so much so that Futures and Options has agreed to continue their partnership with us for this summer as well.

These are just a few of the opportunities that we are grateful to be able to offer our Summer Searchers, so they can be ready to take the real world by storm!

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