For Clovis Unified high school students enrolled in the Digital Marketing & Entrepreneurship program at the Center for Advanced Research and Technology, the ability to gain hands-on experience is within reach.
Tuesday morning’s Internship Fair at CART was a success for not only the prospective interns, but also the businesses and individuals looking for young and enthusiastic students.
“We consider this the last project of the year, the Internship Project. We do this at the end because throughout the year we try to teach as many skills as possible. Between technical skills, to self-skills like getting to work on time, being productive at work and so forth,” Digital Marketing & Entrepreneurship instructor Bret Rosander said on the event.
“We are really grateful that these businesses and organizations were willing to come out and speak with the students. It takes a lot of work on my part, but the students gain a valuable experience from this opportunity.”
The main idea behind the project is to give the students the ability to practice what they have learned all year. They have a chance to work with real companies and organizations that will, in turn, teach them the basics of their field.
Although the students enter into a new realm of learning, with only a two-day-a-week requirement, they will be able to adjust as comfortability grows within their new work experience.
At first students are given the responsibility to try and seek out internships as well, from various places around the community. Rosander explained that the students are well equipped to find that internship, but they also have a chance at the interview day at CART.
“This day gives businesses the opportunity to meet the students and figure out who will be the best fit and who is excited about joining that certain organization,” Rosander said.
The internships are Tuesdays and Thursdays for two to three hours, while the program itself lasts about seven weeks.
With so many students all looking for an opportunity, there is some competitiveness amongst the interviewees, but that aspect can teach them what it’s like in the real world.
“We want to teach them real-world job seeking and interview skills,” Rosander explained.
But Rosander and his staff at CART changed up the process for interviews. Instead of having a single interview per organization, there were four students per organization on Tuesday.
“At one time we did one-on-one interviews, but organizations could only meet five or six students. This way, they will be able to meet 25-30 kids. We’ll have four students at a time sit down with the interviewer and they all have their resumes and their photos. It gives both parties a chance to learn about each other. The organization gets to know the student and vice versa.”
The groups rotate, allowing the maximum number of students to get a chance at a table. The students will then leave their resumes with the organization so they can make notes for later use in choosing the perfect candidate.
Between two sessions on Tuesday, Rosander estimates that around 70 students will be making their way into the interview room just in the morning session alone. Luckily, organizations can come back and still meet with students if they were unable to find the right candidate.
While a majority of the students were in the room with various organizations, there were others waiting for their chance outside the room.
Junior Andrew Stewart and senior Mark Tabalno were two of many students eager for their chance to impress the interviewers in the other room.
For Stewart, being a leadership student and an athlete, learning at CART has prepared him for this chance to speak with different businesses about an internship and even a potential job down the road.
“I’m in the Digital Marketing & Entrepreneurship lab and I’ve learned how to form a business, run a business, how to market yourselves and all the main things behind the basis of business. I’m a little nervous, but for the most part I feel ready.
“My dad is in digital marketing as well, so I think that might be my path in the future.”
Tabalno, on the other hand hopes for a nursing degree in the future. His mother took that path and now Tabalno hopes to follow in her footsteps, but that hasn’t stopped him from trying to gain experience working in general.
Tabalno currently works in a Chinese restaurant and knows what it means to work hard. As a senior, balancing a job and schools is tough, but it builds character. He doesn’t have much experience in the marketing field, but he was able to learn from the knowledgeable staff at CART.
“In this marketing class, we learned to make social cause campaigns and other marketing techniques, like making online products and things like that.”
While Stewart was ready for the interview process, Tabalno – sitting on his right – felt some pressure beforehand.
“I don’t really know what to expect, but hopefully I do a good job in there.”