Sixty students from Woodruff High School are interning for 40 different companies around Peoria. The students are set up with trade internships, creating pathways for their future careers. With employers looking for extra help around their shops, students are able to fill that need and get experience all at once.
Sarah Chapman, a career coordinator for Woodruff Career and Technical Center, said, “We have been featuring students who are enrolled in five different programs at Woodruff. We have auto-body, construction, culinary arts, healthcare, and IT.”
Through classes and a job coach, the students are taught skills that allow them to flourish in the job world.
“We’re working with them, building a resume, working on soft skills, doing Xello, which is a district program, dress vs. Assess, interview practices,” said Brittany Bush, a pathways coach at Woodruff High School.
Alejandro Contreras, a recent Woodruff graduate and detailer at Maaco, said the classes and coaching helped him prepare for his job at Maaco.
“Just the little things, you know, panels, painting, even the sanding, and bonding sometimes. It all helped me learn stuff that I can take here,” said Contreras.
A PIPCO company employee said involving them in trade work shows that there are multiple options for high school graduates. It also gives them an opportunity to hire somebody who is experienced in their trade.
Marlo Sutton, a project manager and estimator at PIPCO Companies, said, “It allows the kids to see what else there is out there without having to go through 4-year college after school. And a couple of them, we’ve actually held onto after their internship and still work for us today.”
Seth Colvin, the executive chef at Suite Fire Bar and Grille said working with the students has been a learning experience for everyone.
“It actually helps my team and myself learn new things, as well. Because they might ask a question that we don’t know, so we have to sneak around the corner, look it up on Google, or look it up in one of our chef books,” said Colvin.
Those interested in the program can go to ciproud.com to learn more.