The West Baton Rouge Parish Chamber of Commerce and West Baton Rouge Parish Schools announced the kickoff of the first annual Internship West program last week.
The Internship West program engages Brusly High School and Port Allen High School rising seniors in career exploration as they complete internships and job shadowing in West Baton Rouge Chamber member businesses, local government, and schools. Students can also pursue industry-based certifications in Customer Service and Microenterprise.
Students will leave the program with a clear understanding of the skills and knowledge necessary for successful careers in and around the parish. The internship program combines classroom hours with authentic work experiences alongside experienced business leaders, educators, and industry professionals to provide a well-rounded experience for students.
“This is such a valuable opportunity for our students,” Superintendent Wes Watts said. “To learn firsthand what skills are needed and be able to experience what the work environment is really like at these businesses will give our students a competitive advantage when it comes to hiring. The WBR Business Community has been so supportive of our schools; this is just another example. We, in turn, will provide them with a more prepared workforce so it is a win-win.”
The internship is sponsored by the WBR Chamber of Commerce, WBR Schools, and funded by a grant from the Louisiana Department of Education’s Jump Start Summers program.
Twenty-six students were accepted for the first cohort.
Internship West’s business host sites include Brittany Weaver, an independent State Farm agent, Town of Brusly, Rotolo’s Pizza, Court Street Café, Holiday Inn Express, and WBR Schools. Jill Edwards and Latasha Valenzuela of Port Allen High School are the lead instructors for the program’s inaugural cohort.
“The West Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce is beyond proud to take part in this flagship project for our parish. We know our member businesses are just as honored to be granted the opportunity to help shape our students’ career futures If our students succeed, so do our business and industry. One cannot flourish without the other,” Jamie Hanks, WBR Chamber executive director said.