PRECINCT REPORTER NEWS GROUP — Business and community leaders, educators and students are gearing up for one of the biggest gatherings of the year for the San Bernardino Unified School District to get more students linked to real-world work experience. On Wednesday, November 13, an expected 1,000 business professionals and local leaders will come together to strategize career options and more opportunities for students through paid internships.
By Dianne Anderson
Business and community leaders, educators and students are gearing up for one of the biggest gatherings of the year for the San Bernardino Unified School District to get more students linked to real-world work experience.
On Wednesday, November 13, an expected 1,000 business professionals and local leaders will come together to strategize career options and more opportunities for students through paid internships.
The Community Gathering for Excellence event, in partnership with San Bernardino County, runs from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the National Orange Show Events Center. RSVP is required by October 28.
Linda Bardere, school district spokesperson, said the goal of the event is to reach potential employers and increase awareness of how the internships can benefit students, as well as their businesses.
Each year, students rush to get their applications into the internship program, and regional businesses are stepping up to accommodate them.
“They are getting really qualified students who are eager and have an opportunity to work in an actual workplace to use what they have learned in the classroom and apply it to a work setting,” she said.
Employers and leaders will meander through a showcase of high school exhibits that exemplifies students’ interests and abilities.
The hope is that the diversity of talent will catch the employer’s attention as they view the display.
“It will give employers or business owners an opportunity to see the skill sets the students are bringing and match that with the needs of the business. The schools will have posters of the types of internships they want for their students,” Bardere said.
Last year, the emphasis on the annual gathering targeted parents was to spotlight potential hires and the many career pathways possible for their students. That event was a great success.
This year, they are hoping to cast a wider net to businesses for the students.
Many career choices and exciting fields are also accessible for students that are not STEM-based, science, engineering or math-intensive.
“We have a very successful teaching academy at Arroyo Valley High School, we have a business academy at San Bernardino High, and [opportunities in] public safety,” she said.
The featured speaker for the event is Dr. Suzan LeVine, former U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein, and current commissioner for Washington State Employment Security Department. Her husband, Eric, is a co-keynote presenter, who also has extensive work in the same area.
Several other community partners will participate, including Cal State San Bernardino, Loma Linda University, and the San Bernardino Community Colleges.
Bardere said the San Bernardino County Workforce Development Board Career GenerationGo! Career Pathways program helped jump-start efforts to get local students hired as interns. Now, students are showing great success through the proven model.
“It allows them to develop basic soft skills, being on time and dressing professionally. An opportunity to hone in on soft skills to be great employees, and interact in certain professions to see if it is something that they are interested in pursuing,” she said.
The internships also broaden the student’s awareness of the types of careers that they may be interested in, and some that they may not have considered before.
So far, the district has targeted community and business leaders to attend the event, but they may have additional seating available for the community at large as the event draws near.
“We are going to be watching our numbers for RSVP. There is a good chance we will open it up to more people in the community as November gets closer,” she said.
This article originally appeared in The Precinct Reporter News Group.