In honor of Career and Technical Education Month, Congresswoman Lois Capps spoke at San Marcos High School to praise Santa Barbara’s burgeoning Job Training and Internship Program.

In its third year, the program is present at seven area high schools: Rincon High, Carpinteria High, Santa Barbara High, San Marcos, Dos Pueblos, El Puente, and La Cuesta. The program features a multi-week training program that teaches students how to master all the basics of getting a career in the real world like building a resume, learning to write cover letters, developing interview skills, and appreciating money management.

The training seems to be working well. At the meeting, several local business representatives emphasized how professional they found the students who applied for positions at their companies. Oftentimes, they said, the high school students had a better attitude than the professional adults who interviewed.

Student Joseph Gonzalez, who interned at the YMCA, spoke positively of his experiences. He was eventually hired to work at YMCA in an official capacity despite being just 17 years old. His boss, Megan Bishop, spoke warmly of him.

The program gives high school students opportunities in all fields. Interns present at the meeting had worked for auto shops, Cottage Hospital, and the Santa Barbara Symphony Orchestra. After their internship was over, many students were offered more permanent jobs with the companies they worked with.

Chelsea Pacino, one of the Job Training and Internship Program’s leaders, said that the medical field was the most popular for students to intern with. She also stated that although many places saw the internship as a risk, she thought that it was well worth it. The program takes care to fill out tax forms for the companies that take an intern, taking away some of the more difficult tasks associated with employing minors.

Kathy Castaneda, one of the other faculty members in charge of the program, talked about how competitive the program was growing, and said that the students were the “cream of the crop.”

Capps talked of the lifelong partnership between businesses and the county’s schools, and stated that the program’s importance had much to do with learning outside of books and school. “To me, this is a laboratory like no other,” she said.

Capps also addressed President Obama’s State of the Union Address, citing the president’s declaration that education had to be done in a new way. Capps said the president “couldn’t have been talking about anything than what you’re doing here.”

Funding for the internship program so far has come from the Orfalea Foundations, the federal government, and from AT&T. Company representative Mike Silacci was there to present a $10,000 check to help keep the program running.


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