As college semesters and high school careers came to an end in May, a mix of graduates and students came together to be a part of Private Industry Council (PIC) as summer interns. With their diverse backgrounds and experiences, the interns brought a variety of skills to the table that allowed them to work as a team to provide the best programs and services to PIC clients.
Each PIC intern was assigned an important role in youth programming. Summer interns hold various responsibilities such as being worksite supervisors or field workers for the summer youth program, working in the IT Department, doing clerical work at the offices, or directing the STEM camps. This year’s interns included Carly Heider and John Malone, recent college graduates; Leah Glasbrenner, Allison Means, Hannah Spinetti, Denni Claycomb, RJ Reinhard, Brianna Sokol, and Natalie Artman, all current college students, and Rebekah Junk and Jimmy Malone, recent high school graduates. Each intern joined PIC for the summer for different reasons. For quite a few of the interns who are pursuing careers in the field of education the internship provided valuable experience for the future.
“As a field worker for the youth program, I was able to work directly with middle school students at three day camps, and I was able to help high school students enrolled in the work experience program achieve their goals,” says Carly Heider. “The internship allowed me to gain more organization, communication, and planning skills that will help me as a future teacher.”
Likewise, Leah Glasbrenner states, “I like my job [at PIC] because it is really rewarding. Many of the youth in our program face obstacles that hinder their ability to achieve their goals, and it is awesome knowing when I have helped someone.”
Both Heider and Glasbrenner, and the other interns, worked primarily with the summer youth work experience program that PIC provides annually. While learning organization and communication skills, the interns are responsible for managing files, leading work-site and youth orientations, monitoring worksites, and mentoring the youth. Leah Glasbrenner says that all of these responsibilities provide “real-life experience with problem solving and thinking on [your] feet” as well as “learning how to multitask, prioritize, and communicate effectively with others.”
Denni Claycomb’s internship was as a field worker. Her role allowed her to travel to various work sites as a supervisor, promoting the summer youth programs, instructing kids of varying age levels at the STEM camps, and helping out with PIC programs at the YMCA in Uniontown.
“My favorite part of [being an intern] was making memories with the other interns and meeting the kids from the STEM camps,” she says. “I really appreciate the opportunity to work at PIC, and everyone from the Greensburg and Lemont Furnace offices as well as the Uniontown YMCA.”
Other field workers for PIC this summer have had similar experiences. Allison Means (a worksite supervisor), for example, says that one of the best parts of the internship was all of the different ways to be involved and help people in the communities that PIC serves. “Not only was I able to work with children for part of the summer,” she explains, “but I was also able to assist families in need at my specific worksite and work side by side with other professionals.”
Another summer intern, Brianna Sokol, had a different experience. She was assigned to the I.T. Department to gain more experience for her college minor of computer sciences. She worked alongside Dave Shimek, who is the IT Supervisor for PIC. PIC gave Brianna the ability to learn how to work with different software and become more acquainted with computer equipment. She learned day-to-day skills like troubleshooting errors, solving unexpected problems, and understanding the inner-workings of different technologies.
Overall, the Private Industry Council offers a unique internship that allows young adults the chance to learn valuable job skills and gain new experiences for the future. The interns at PIC perform important functions in programs like the summer youth work experience program, youth STEM camps, as well as working alongside staff in other departments. They learned how to communicate, collaborate, and problem solve in real-world situations. They had the opportunity to network with many community employers, agencies, parents, and youth and had a strong impact on all of the people that they served.
The outcomes that the PIC interns experienced are fulfilling and it makes each day worth all of their hard work. Suzi Bloom and Deborah Cohen, who both supervised and worked closely with the summer interns, agreed that this summer would not have been as successful without the PIC interns. This year’s summer interns were extremely grateful for the opportunity at PIC and encourage other high school graduates or college students to be a part of the wonderful team next year.