Thursday, September 13, 2012

Paid Summer Internships Work for IT Academy Students!

Posted by  on September 12, 2012 in Techwire

Over this past summer, 25 students from the Information Technology Academies (ITA) of West Contra County Unified School District (WCCUSD) enjoyed paid internships with a number of Bay-area employers. Students who participated in the paid work-based learning had wonderful experiences and now better understand how technologies are used to support organizational objectives.
The internships were arranged with the support of TechFutures, a non-profit organization started through the vision, inspiration and commitment of Mr. and Mrs. Ron Whittier to give underserved students an opportunity to have career-focused courses in the subjects of Database, Web Design and Networking.
Originally started as an after school program where the students came for 2 hours after school for 2 years where each class was a semester long, the West Contra Costa Unified School District later expanded TechFutures into the Information Technology Academy (ITA) program in order to reach more students through a small learning academy environment. The ITA program currently operates at El Cerrito, Kennedy and De Anza High Schools.
Many of the internship opportunities were researched by Chris Merrida, Office Manager of TechFutures, as well as by members of the TechFutures advisory board and contacts made by the teachers. The positions were announced, posted and discussed in classes last spring. ITA students submitted cover letters and resumes and interviewed for positions. The feedback from all the sites has been very positive and we are proud of all the students, many of whom are seniors this year. Several of the interns have been asked to stay on at their positions after the summer.
Ben Crosby, Internal Coach with the District’s College and Career Readiness Collaborative, commented that the “amazing” reflections from the ITA students about their internship experience validate the importance of work-based learning. Mr. Crosby said: “These students will remember these experiences forever and I know they can see the relevance of what they are learning in the ITA.”
Here are some of the student’s reflections on their summer work experiences:
The ITA Academy (and TechFutures) gave me an incredible opportunity to demonstrate my knowledge in computer networking, by locating me an internship at NetXperts, Inc. During my stay at NetXperts I shadowed engineers, not only to learn from them, but also got the chance to assist them in projects. I was actually doing a job that people were getting paid fifty dollars an hour to do. It was definitely an experience I will never forget.
This summer we helped all the employees with any work they needed help with from filing and paper work to making deliverables for their projects. Last week, I had the opportunity to help out on the Napa State Hospital Project. I am not sure if you have heard of the project. It’s been all over the news. NetXperts installed their new security system, so what I had to do was go around calibrating every building. Then that would be used to locate the staff whenever they called for help by using their new security system. That way, the cops would know whenever they are getting attacked by the patients and exactly where they are.
TSG Networks
Over the summer I was able to get an internship at TSG Networks. At TSG Networks I was able to learn how to run and operate a small business. It was a very cool experience. Everyone there was very nice and kind. They made me feel like I have be working there most of my life and not like I was someone new. On my first day there they bought me lunch and on another day gave me three field level seats to an A`s game. On my last day there they offered me a part time job that I go to now every day after school. I thank the IT academy at my school because if it was not for them I would never had gotten the internship that gave me my job.
Lawerence Berkeley Labs 
For LBL, my responsibilities are to work on multiple projects (there are eight so far) that relate to the web. I am currently working with a former ITA graduate, so I will use “we”, since our work is shared now.
We use a CMS (Content Management System) a 2-3 LBL coders made to work on department and division pages. Everything is “cleaned” through a method of Clean HTML.
I am currently working on an existing site for Multiscale (a project that calculates future climate changes using past records) to make it more dynamic using HTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP, SQL and sometimes Python. I am also working on a totally new site that will use a different structure, since the previous site had a lot of bad code. My colleague worked fully on a brochure for the Multiscale website.


During the summer I worked at BART’s Enterprise Geographic Information System (EGIS) Department. I worked on their mapping system, creating and building footprints which BART uses to gather statistics on who rides and lives near BART. I also worked on road footprints, which would make the map easier for BART police to control crime that goes on around BART. Overall, this was an experience I will never forget, I learned so much and gained a lot from participating in this internship.
At BART, I worked with EGIS (Enterprise Geographic Informational Systems), a very complex but mind-enriching computer program in which there was a map of the whole Bay Area. My job was to fix any errors around the BART tracks, which the BART police would use to easier navigate around the system. Plus, the free BART for summer didn’t hurt either.
I interned at BART over the summer! In my internship I learned how to work with people in an office and outside setting. I also learned about how the community really effects BART’s decisions on producing more cars to hold more commuters, where to put more stations, and even things like naming those same stations. Out of the office, I would help out in BART’s summer youth tours, which showed kids around the Bay Area the different places they could go to by using the system. I loved working at BART. Everyone was really kind and funny and they made me feel at home. The internship was a fantastic experience.
City of El Cerrito
Over the summer, I was an intern at the El Cerrito City Hall. It was an engaging experience which educated me on many aspects of how things work in a government official building. I obtained many skills through interning with the city hall, such as learning database entry, filing, scanning, and setting up community events. Thank you TechFutures for giving me this great experience!
El Cerrito High Office
The internship I did was volunteering in the school’s main office. I helped the office by filing transcripts, shredding scrap paper, answering phones, helping people at the front office, cleaning the office, moving things, and helping the text book room. I thought the work was great because I had nothing to do in the summer and I needed something to do. It was not difficult and good way to spend the summer.
I worked at TechFutures as an intern for Desktop Support. I learned all sorts of things during this summer experience. I worked with my supervisor Robert Davis. He taught me how to reset BIOS, ghost a computer, set a student up for class, and many other computer systems skills.
During the summer I worked at worldOne Radio. I worked as a Web and Graphic Designer on the worldOne Radio site. I got the chance to work with WordPress, Dreamweaver and Photoshop. I added new pages and managed the site. I’m now creating a new keCg site from scratch which has helped my knowledge of HTML greatly. I got some experience in a freelance position which I have really enjoyed.

About Gary Page

Gary Page is an Information Technology Consultant the with the California Department of Education. He is also the publisher of Ed Synergy, a blog that exists to provide information and support to classroom teachers and administrators in California who teach primarily in subjects related to information technology and computer science.


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  2. ITA program is very great. It gives you knowledge about new technologies so that you learn how new technologies work.