By JEN CARDINES
The Southington Chamber of Commerce gave its annual presentation at Southington High School (SHS) for the Training for Tomorrow (T4T) program on Tuesday, Dec. 13. The program is a partnership between the chamber and the high school where students have a chance to job shadow or intern with a local business.
Being connected to the businesses in town allows the chamber to network with them to provide a hands-on experience free of cost. The alliance is called “Training for Tomorrow” because it trains sophomores and juniors to build a resume, make business connections, and get work experience.
With the help of SHS faculty Lisa Carmody and Candace Patten, along with Southington chamber members, students get a jump start on their career and college planning while learning valuable skills in the field.
Chamber board chair Dave Pestillo told the students that it’s the same concept as test driving a car before you buy it.
“You wouldn’t want to just start something and not know what you’re getting in to, and that’s what this program is about,” he said.
The program was designed to give high school students a sampling of different careers, so that they can save time and money in the future. By shadowing professionals and asking questions, students can gauge whether or not they see it as a fit.
Along with Pestillo, Shirene Hazel represented the chamber board at the presentation. She emphasized the importance of volunteer and internship experience in the competitive workforce and college application process.
“Understand that colleges are going to ask you, ‘what have you done,’” said Hazel, “and attending high school is what everyone has done.”
Lincoln College admissions officer Shauna Judd attended the lecture as well to give students perspective from someone that reviews applications. She explained that resumes with internships on them are beneficial to admissions counselors so they know how to direct a student to the proper major.
“Having an idea will help not only you, but the school and an admissions representative,” Judd said.
The internship programs can be as little as one day or as long as a nine week experience, depending on the business. It is available to the sophomore and junior classes as they begin to look into college programs and is completely free.
Students receive no monetary compensation for their time, but they learn priceless values.
“If you do really well in this internship it could lead to a really good reference that you could use later on,” Carmody said. “No you don’t get paid, but there are more things in it than just money.”
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Jen Cardines, email her at JCardines@SouthingtonObserver.com.