5 new partners join Lakota internship program

Butler County’s largest school district has expanded its internship program for high school students by five new business partners

Lakota Local School District’s new business partners include ProSource, Emery Federal Credit Union, public radio station WMKV-FM and the administrative offices of both West Chester and Liberty townships.

The district’s school board voted unanimously Monday to approve the new internships.

“It’s just nice to see other organization’s stepping up and participating because this is a great opportunity for our kids,” said board member Ben Dibble.

Fourteen high school students will gain hands-on experience this June and July in such career paths as local government, business, financial services and sales, and communication and broadcasting.

Emery Federal Credit Union believes the internships to be “a great opportunity for the students to get a hands on feel” for how a financial institution conducts business and the importance of service, according to Shelly O’Neill, vice president of branch operations.

“Students will gain an understanding of how we service our members and what makes a financial institution successful,” O’Neill said. “We are excited to participate in the program Lakota has put together and believe it is a perfect learning experience for all.”

Liberty Twp. spokeswoman Caroline McKinney said township officials are pleased to be part of the program and look forward to working with the interns.

“We think it’s a terrific program for our community’s future leaders to have opportunities to explore different career options,” McKinney said.

Traci Shaffar, ProSource’s corporate training manager said many high school students are expected to know what career path they want pursue before they graduate.”

“By investing in Lakota’s internship program, we have the privilege of giving students exposure to professional work experience to help them make good career decisions,” she said. “This internship program also helps support the well-being of our community by giving students the tools needed to make a positive impact both professionally and civically.

“We are committed to giving back to our community and our schools. Lakota’s internship program provides us an additional opportunity to give back to our community by sharing our professional skills and passion with exceptional students.

Students will participate in an interview process before being selected for the available positions. Besides early exposure to potential career paths, students will also receive elective high school credit for their participation.

Lakota high school students can explore other potential careers through the district’s other business partners: West Chester Hospital, Procter & Gamble, Kinetic Vision, Atrium Medical Center and ABC Pediatric Therapy Network.

After this summer, about 90 Lakota high school students will have participated this school year in an internship experience offered through the district’s co-curricular internship model.

Additional summer enrichment opportunities through internship partners are part of Lakota’s ongoing efforts to modernize curricular options, which officials said are a key component of the levy voters approved in November 2013.

Those opportunities also are part of the school district’s three-year strategic plan, which calls for expanded secondary learning opportunities through co-curricular internship programs.

“With every new business partner, we add another possible career path or industry our students can explore before they’re even out of high school,” said Karen Mantia, Lakota’s superintendent. “The fact that we can offer these opportunities over the summer to keep students engaged in their learning is an added bonus, especially because it aligns perfectly with our overall curriculum modernization efforts.”