Santa Barbara Partners in Education will hold its 31st Annual Career Education Awards Breakfast next Wednesday, May 23, where it will honor local students who have excelled in their focus on a particular vocation, as a means to distinguish them as exemplary students and encourage their hard work.
Students are nominated from eight local high schools and Partners in Education’s own Partners Internship Program.
For each individual high school, exceptional students who stand out are nominated by their teachers for this prestigious award. The students must be focusing on a particular vocation of choice, typically one for which the school has offered a career pathway.
Each of the local high schools offer career pathways, which are guides for students who have a chosen profession. For example, Carpinteria High School boasts its own culinary institute for students interested in the food industry, and San Marcos hosts a health academy for students interested in any health profession. Some of the pathways also offer courses associated with their field of focus.
Partners in Education has extended this idea to an internship program offered to high school students wanting experience in their field. The only requirements are that they’re age 16 to 18, are excelling in their current career courses, and then pass an interview by volunteer business people.
After six weeks of training in the program, students are placed in their internship with local practices or businesses. The program is in its third year with 60 students finishing up their third and final session of the program.
The program has continued because of the many benefits it brings to students, according to Michelle Magnusson, head of volunteers and financial contributions of the program. She said it’s not only an eye-catching quality to put on college applications, but from past years educators have seen more students from this program go on to pursue their major or career of choice. About 67 percent of students in the program or focused on some sort of career pathway go on to that chosen career path.
Magnusson said the program’s benefits go beyond providing realistic career experience to high school students.
“The other day I was reading a study that said that students who enroll in a career technical education graduate out of high school at a higher rate, and they see more relevance to school … they are much more engaged and excited about what goes on in the classroom,” she said.
She added that businesses today are looking for customer service and people skills in their new hires, but they have a difficult time finding these qualities in many students. She claims that through hands-on experience, the internship program trains students at a young age with these vital skills.
To help honor some of the program’s top interns and other high-achieving local high school students, RSVP to Partners in Education. The cost is $25 and includes a catered breakfast at the Bacara Resort & Spa. Call 805.964.4710 for more information.