By ANDREW DEZIEL firstname.lastname@example.org
With Faribault High School about to switch to a seven-period day, one student’s internship at a local credit union just might provide a glimpse into what’s about to become a reality for many of her peers.
Senior Erica Johnsrud first heard about the opportunity to intern with Hometown Credit Union through the school’s career center. With her interest in finance and banking, she decided to apply for the position and got it.
Now, she’s working at the credit union almost every day after class. As a teller, she’s able to do nearly everything that Hometown’s “Member Service Representatives” can, including cashing and depositing checks, printing statements and transferring funds.
As much as she enjoys her business classes, Johnsrud says she’s learned more in the internship than in her classes. She intends to continue working at Hometown Bank until she leaves to get her bachelor’s degree, most likely in a finance-related field, from University of St. Thomas or Minnesota State University, Mankato.
Johnsrud has known she wanted to pursue finance and marketing as a career path for several years. As a freshman, she joined DECA, the school’s organization for students interested in finance, marketing and other business -elated areas. Yet with Faribault’s six-period class day, she wasn’t able to fit in any finance related courses until her junior year.
“I took summer school government, summer school gym in hopes of opening up my schedule,” she said. “But until last year, I just couldn’t take a business class.”
That year, the high school also launched its internship program, collaborating with area businesses to give students real-world, on the job experience. Students, staff and area businesses say they look forward to being able to expand the program’s reach.
“(The seven-period day) is going to allow kids to get their core classes to graduate, and they’re also going to have that extra opportunity to try different classes,” said business teacher Kevin Dunnigan. “That gives them that opportunity to think about what’s next.”
Next year, the high school will accompany the seven-course day with a new career pathway model. For students on the finance and marketing paths, a senior internship will become the “capstone course.”
To complete the “internship course,” students will be expected to spend at least 40 hours at an internship. Dunnigan believes that the internship program will offer students an abundance of opportunities to learn and build connections.
“The hope is that it turns into a future entry-level job,” he said. “Hopefully they created that connection and the employer will want to bring them back.”