TEMPE, AZ — Tempe city officials, economic development and business leaders are wrapping up the first of a two-year pilot program offering high school students from low-income households the chance to become "career ready" through paid local internships.
"The program is intended to develop a robust youth talent pipeline," said Lorena Cabrera, the city's Career Ready Tempe coordinator.
This summer, eight students took part in eight-week internships at eight different companies. The students worked in industries Cabrera said the city determined to be in-demand with the potential for long-term growth.
"Our vision is to make this grander," she said, and to also "work with additional companies and expand our industries that we're targeting."
One of the participants, 17-year-old Benjamin Moreno, spent the summer helping create brochures, video and other multimedia material in the marketing department at Landings Credit Union.
"My parents enjoy everything I tell them about work," he told ABC15. "They're happy to see me being happy at work and also just having cool experiences."
Moreno's boss, COO Lorena Cabrera, said colleagues were impressed by Moreno's work ethic and growth during the program to the point that the credit union offered him a paid position during the school year, which he accepted.
In addition to learning the "ins and outs" of the job, the program aims to teach students soft skills to set them apart.
Moreno said he learned how valuable effective communication is to success in the workplace.
It's "really key to working as a team," he said.
For more information on the program, click here.