Tag Archives: Kristy Jackson

Kristy Jackson -The importance of Internships

Kristy Jackson

Kristy Jackson

It is with great pleasure that I write my first blog article! Over the years, I’ve worked in higher education and business, always with a focus on either career planning or organizational development. Simply put, I love to help people “see and seize” opportunities that will help them grow.

I currently work for the local educational co-op, which means that my clients are school districts. While I work on a variety of projects, one area that has caught the attention of parents recently is our internship programming.  Over the past five years, we’ve placed hundreds of high-school aged students into internships at local businesses and non-profit organizations for the handful of school districts that use this service.  It is a great way for students to ‘sample’ a career field, prior to investing time and money at college.

What to do if your school does not have a formal internship program? 

As internships have gained in popularity, I’ve received several phone calls from parents who are seeking guidance as they are attempting to arrange internships for their own teens.  Each student is different, but I’ve found that most teens appreciate help with:

  1. Identifying career fields that are related to their interests
  2. Determining which businesses offer those career fields
  3. Verbalizing his or her goals for the experience.  In other words:  what is your child hoping to discover during the internship?  What strengths do they want to test?  What do they want to learn?
  4. Scheduling.  Teens are busy!  If you can help them to identify consistent blocks of time that could be used for an internship experience, it will make it easier for a business to say ‘yes’ to your teen’s inquiry.

As you help your teen to plan their approach, be sure to prepare them for scenarios that might arise during their initial phone conversation with a business.  Being prepared to schedule an interview, to leave a message, or to handle a ‘turn-down’ are all equally important, and this will make your teen feel more confident.

If your teen is looking for additional support in arranging an internship, remember that your school counselor is often a great place to start.  There are also supportive resources available online, including the Directional Motivation website.  Their ‘Know Your Strengths’ worksheet provides a clear, easy way for teens to identify personal strengths that they can contribute during an internship.  It can be found online at:  http://directionalmotivation.com/worksheets.php#intwkst

Readers: chime in!  What other kinds of support would help your child’s career development efforts?


This is a guest blog post written by Kristy Jackson, manager of the Career Link program at EDEC in Sioux Falls, SD.  She serves on a variety of non-profit boards that support the career development efforts of students.