Mayor’s intern program almost doubles in second year
In just its second year, 41 teens have completed the Richardson Mayor’s Summer Internship Program.

They were honored by Mayor Paul Voelker at a celebratory luncheon at the Eisemann Center for Performing Arts.

The program has grown from 24 internships and 24 employers/sponsors in its first year to 41 internships and 45 employers/sponsors today.

“The students were given an invaluable opportunity to experience a professional workplace, something that will be an important stepping stone as they look toward college and careers,” said Voelker. “I deeply appreciate the incredible businesses and nonprofits who’ve come on board and hope we can recruit even more organizations next year.”

The interns, who worked 20-40 hours per week at some of the area’s top businesses and nonprofits, experienced internships rivaling those provided to college-age students. The internships ran eight weeks and the students earned a minimum of $10 per hour.

Prior to starting work, the students participated in training to prepare for the competitive Job Fair in April, when 125 students vied for one of the 41 placements. Once they received their official job offers, the students underwent an additional 35 hours of workforce and work-readiness training. Midway through the summer, the interns attended Community Service Day at the Network of Community Ministries where they sorted food donations, stocked the pantry and more. The purpose of the day was to help students realize the importance of giving back to their community.

“The Richardson Chamber of Commerce is so proud to partner with the City and RISD to present this powerful program that we believe to be important for our youth and the success of this city,” said John Jacobs, executive vice president of economic development for the Richardson Chamber of Commerce. “If our intern, Fabiana, is any indication of Richardson’s future, then our city is in very good hands. I hope that our members will help us expand this program so that we may provide even more students with this life-changing opportunity. Let’s double it in 2020!”

Richardson High School senior Abdullah Ahmad spent his summer at Durkin Enterprises, LLC, where his responsibilities ranged from working on the website and running network cables, to determining signage for new buildings. He also was introduced to financial skills and business negotiations. He intended to major in computer science and cybersecurity, but is now considering a business degree.

Lake Highland High School senior Cynthia Ilichie worked at ARGO in the HR department where she was assigned to the corporate office’s refresh/facilities project.  She learned all about recruiting, networking and even technical writing, a field she is now may pursue in college.

“It really was the summer of growth and opportunity for these students, and I am so proud of them for their hard work and commitment,” said Richardson ISD Superintendent Dr. Jeannie Stone

Thanks go to sponsors including Texas Instruments; Central Market; Golden Tree Restaurants, LLC and its restaurants Texadelphia and Golden Chick; as well as the program facilitator Education is Freedom and partners Richardson ISD, City of Richardson and the Richardson Chamber of Commerce.

Internship partners were Alliance Architects, Inc.; ARGO; ASSA ABLOY Hospitality; Atmos Energy; Atrium Hospitality/Renaissance Richardson; City of Richardson, Communications Department; City of Richardson, Information Technology Department; City of Richardson, Library Services; City of Richardson, Office of Emergency Management; Corgan; Dallas Chinese Community Center; Durkin Enterprises LLC; Eisemann Center for Performing Arts; First Baptist Richardson; GEICO; Golden Tree Restaurants LLC; JHP Architecture/Urban Design; KDC Real Estate Development & Investments; Lee Lewis Construction, Inc.; LPX, CPA’s; McCarthy Building Companies, Inc.; Methodist Richardson Medical Center; Mr. and Mrs. Catherine and Daniel Burdette; Network of Community Ministries; PAJ Inc; PBK; Perdue Brandon Fielder Collins & Mott, LLP; Perkins & Will; Reliable Chevrolet; Richardson Chamber of Commerce; Richardson ISD, Communications & Public Affairs; Richardson ISD, CTE Department; Richardson ISD, Facilities Services Department; Richardson ISD, Human Resources Department; Richardson ISD, Network Services; Richardson ISD, Professional Learning Department; Richardson ISD, Superintendent's Office; Richardson Symphony Orchestra; Richland College; RISD Excellence in Education Foundation; The University of Texas at Dallas; and The Westin Galleria Dallas.

See a video wrap-up of the 2019 program here

To learn more and sign up, go to or contact Angela Shellene at