More than three dozen RISD students participated in the second Richardson Mayor’s Summer Internship Program this year.

Richardson Mayor Paul Voelker hosted all 41 students who interned this summer at a celebratory luncheon in late August at the Eisemann Center for Performing Arts.

The interns, who worked 20 to 40 hours a week at some of the area’s top businesses and nonprofits, gained experiences rivaling those provided to college students. The internships began June 10 and ran through Aug. 2. The students earned a minimum of $10 an hour.

“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,” Richardson ISD Superintendent Dr. Jeannie Stone said.

In just its second year, the program grew to 41 internships and 45 employers/sponsors from 24 internships and 24 employers/sponsors the inaugural year.

Some of the experiences include:

Elizabeth Sarinana, a senior at J.J. Pearce High School, interned at the City of Richardson in the Office of Emergency Management. Working 30 hours a week, Elizabeth was stationed in the fire training center where her tasks involved proofreading, creating notebooks for training, updating older materials for the Office of Emergency Management, and attending meetings with supervisors who work in emergency management.

Alberto De La Cruz, a senior at Richardson High School, worked at Reliable Chevrolet where he gained experience in a variety of departments, from sales and finance, to the body shop, to interacting with the porters who moved and delivered cars. The dealership paid for him to attend a sales training course, and Alberto learned how to meet and greet people, take orders, work as a cashier and sell and sort stock.

Jeremy McCampbell, a senior at Berkner High School, interned at JHP Architecture where he studied urban design. He learned about the business side of architecture, attended lots of meetings and weekly “lunch and learn” events where vendors — who sell flooring and doors, for example — would pitch their products. Jeremy saved his paychecks to buy a laptop for senior year and offset some college expenses. He plans to study geographic information systems or civil engineering after graduation.

Katsie Brock, a senior at Lake Highlands High School, interned at Methodist Richardson Medical Center where she witnessed a heart bypass surgery, brain and spinal surgery, cesarean sections and hysterectomies, CT Scans and MRIs, and an organ procurement for transplant. After graduation, she plans to study biology and pursue a medical degree, followed by a specialty in cardiothoracic surgery with a focus on heart transplantation.

Before their eight-week stints began, the students participated in training to prepare for the competitive Job Fair April 25, when 125 students vied for one of 41 coveted 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 students were given an invaluable opportunity to experience a professional workplace, something that will be an important stepping stone as they enter their final years of high school and look toward college,” Mayor Voelker said. “I deeply appreciate the incredible businesses and nonprofits who’ve come on board and hope we can recruit even more organizations next year.”

This year’s sponsors include 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 in 2019 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, CPAs; 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, Office of Strategy and Engagement; 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.

RISD High Schoolers Gain Invaluable Experience In Mayor’s Intern Progam was originally published in Richardson ISD Newsdesk on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.