By Melody Young
Although high school education greatly emphasizes the importance of theoretical preparation for the workforce, it rarely reinforces the importance of real-life experience. This year, Granada Hills Charter High School (GHCHS) took action against this problem and began the Work, Internships, and Networking program (WIN). WIN is a work-based learning program that provides more career exposure to students. Through WIN, the school reaches out to businesses, companies, and organizations to offer internship, job, apprenticeship, and job shadowing opportunities to students.
“We always feel strongly that students should be prepared for college and beyond. Work-based learning helps gain skills and experiences outside of the classroom,” Community Outreach Coordinator Marilyn Koziatek said.
In addition, WIN helps students create a more well-rounded application that colleges like to see. Whether students aim for college or a job immediately after high school, career exposure allows students to explore the fields they are interested in. Also, the hands-on experience from internships, jobs, and apprenticeships equips students with necessary skills for the workforce and provides students with a more realistic understanding of what they need in order to succeed.
The program also provides positions for students in school as well. For example, the social media internship allows students to create the school’s social media posts which were previously managed by the school’s staff. By placing more resources into social media, the school hopes to foster a sense of community among the students, parents, alumni, administrators, faculty, and shareholders.
“This internship opened my eyes to a whole new field: social media marketing. I want to be more well-rounded and be able to go to a job and say that I know how to advertise and promote things,” junior and social media intern Isabella Piangerelli said.
Koziatek also coordinates workshops that teach students about different careers and necessary skills for the workforce. Some of the recent workshops include the resume workshop conducted by representatives from Robert Half, a company that helps people find jobs, and the medical careers presentation by Dr. Frederick Russo, an internal medicine physician from Providence Hospital.
While the program works with many companies, some businesses and organizations, on the other hand, are more hesitant to hire high school students. For this reason, Koziatek personally seeks opportunities for GHCHS students. She emphasizes the importance of social responsibility by dedicating resources and giving opportunities to students to better build their future.
So far, the program has been improving steadily, and Koziatek plans to get more organizations and business leaders involved so that the program can benefit more students. Koziatek also plans to set up the mentorships with GHCHS alumni later this semester.
“I would encourage students to check their student emails frequently. Future WIN internships, mentoring, and other opportunities will be sent to everyone via email. The College Office sends out scholarship opportunities via email, so it will behoove the students to consistently check their email so they don’t miss out on enriching opportunities that can help them establish skills that will last a lifetime,” Koziatek said.