Darien High School Internship Program Expands

Wednesday’s Senior Internship Fair was the culminating event of the 2014 Senior Internship Program.

Submitted by Kim Westcott of Darien High School

What happened when 166 members of the Darien High School senior class signed up for the Senior Internship Program?

Francis Janosco and Jeromy Nelson, faculty advisors to the DHS Internship program, had a good news/bad news moment in March. The good news was that their creative messaging paid off, resulting in a fivefold increase in seniors interested in a four-week internship.

The bad news was the increased interest meant fivefold more placements were needed. 

It takes a community to organize a successful internship program, and from the sights and sounds of Wednesday’s Senior Internship Fair, the culminating event of the 2014 Senior Internship Program, Darien High School and the Darien community should feel proud. Tables stretched from the auditorium lobby to the cafeteria.

On the tables each intern displayed a poster board representation of their work experience. Many sponsors accompanied their interns and students, and parents and faculty mingled among the elaborate displays.

Interns returned to DHS with enthusiastic stories about their experiences. One observer noted the interns seemed to walk with a bit more confidence and seemed eager to graduate and explore the wide open world beyond DHS.

Internships were mainly located in Fairfield County, though some commuted to New York City. Interns worked in real-estate, education, finance, fashion, marketing, medical foundations, municipal government and other areas. Each intern submitted weekly journal entries to a faculty mentor. Mentors acted as DHS liaisons to the job site visiting during the internship.
Based on the overwhelming success of the 2014 internship program, Janosco and Nelson anticipate an even greater percentage of the senior class participating next year.
Richard Tortellini June 15, 2014 at 02:59 PM
I still cannot believe that this is an acceptable program, ethically or legally. I know the kids think they're benefiting from this, but ultimately, this is just free labor. We have minimum wage laws in place to try to curtail this type of exploitation--just because it's ostensibly difficult to get a job out of college and building up a resume is a good idea, doesn't mean that private employers should get free labor masked under the "educational" veil. What's also funny here is that we pay tuition to the school vis a vis our tax dollars, and here they actually get to pay themselves to "administer" these programs and/or give themselves fat bonuses, etc while they outsource the "teaching" element here. I think that this is a step in the right direction, but until the employers start paying the students at least minimum wage, if not fair value (i.e. what they would pay other employees to do similar work), then this program needs to be put on hold. In fact, I'd hope that the EEOC/NLRB starts taking a look at this sort of program in a much more scrutinizing manner.


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