CHARLESTON, W.Va. — High school students in The Education Alliance’s WV Ready Summer Internship program got the chance to present their capstone projects to company presidents on Friday, marking the end of the summer program.
Appalachian Power President Chris Beam, Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia President Srini Matam, and West Virginia American Water President Robert Burton all observed presentations in separate ceremonies on Friday while Dominion Energy President Robert Blue also observed his groups’ on Wednesday.
Those four companies made up the four-week paid internship program for the summer of 2021. Amelia Courts, President and CEO of The Education Alliance told MetroNews that Friday was exciting, seeing a culmination of all the hard work.
“We got to see all of the hard work that all of the interns put into this. The companies as well, working with interns on their projects this summer,” she said.
The program was created in 2019 by The Education Alliance, placing high school juniors and seniors with West Virginia businesses. According to the Alliance, the program placed 25 interns from Berkeley, Harrison, Jefferson, Kanawha, Logan, Mingo, Putnam, Wayne, and Wood Counties at the four businesses.
Two programs were hybrid between in-person and virtual and two were all virtual as COVID-19 played a role in the direction of learning.
Courts said the programs made the most of working during the pandemic and often times made a plus out of it.
“Having that virtual component really opened it up and gave more access. It’s a great way to just showcase the wonderful career opportunities and the education steps that you need to take to have a high-quality job here in West Virginia,” she said.
Courts described one of the capstones with Appalachian Power that was presented on Friday. It was the creation a of PR campaign centered around safety. Each intern with Appalachian Power worked on a separate PR campaign.
“Their theme was ‘If Its Down, Go Around.” They were talking about the dangers of a downed power line. They were coming up with a catchy way so the public would remember to stay away from downed power lines,” Courts said.
Courts was impressed with the growth of the students throughout the summer and credited the companies’ investments into weekly training.
“They did various training modules every Monday that they’ve learned from. One of them was about diversity, another was about the importance of a positive work culture,” Courts said.