Lesson in Workforce Readiness

Seniors attend workforce development program to prepare for internships

Seniors in the Business & Entrepreneurship, Health & Medicine, and Teaching & Social Services Academies came together for a unique learning experience before they embark on their internships in the new year.

Cory Silva, coordinator of the Community Engagement Center for People Incorporated, led a workforce development program to prepare seniors for their upcoming internships. He was joined by Melissa St. Pierre and Nancy Bednarz, also from People Incorporated.


Cory Silva, coordinator of the Community Engagement Center for People Incorporated, led the first of two planned workshops

The five-hour program took place over three days in December. Students began by completing a career clusters interest survey which allowed them to learn more about themselves and their interests to see what they may be interested in doing in the future.

“These seniors already went through a similar self-evaluation process when they selected their career academy,” said Career Academies Director Pat Hawkridge. “However, it was a good exercise for the students take another survey because some of them are already experiencing a shift in their career interests.”

Silva stressed the importance of flexibility to the students because there are many reasons – both good and bad – why a person may change careers over the course of his or her life.

“We brainstormed some real-life situations that can come up during the course of your career that cause you to make adjustments,” Silva explained. “You may go into nursing, but you may not be a nurse for your entire career. Or, a couple starting their own business may need to make changes if they have twins. The key is having a flexible state of mind.”

Another big focus of the workshop was job preparation. Students received tips for writing a resume, how to behave in a professional setting, and what to say and not to say in an interview.

“The workforce readiness workshop had a very good representative who acted with kindness and care,” said Business and Entrepreneurship Academy senior Peyton Perry. “I learned how to plan for a job interview to ensure success.”

“These tips were particularly relevant as these students are set to begin their internships in February,” Hawkridge said. “They will all have to have their resumes completed before they begin their internships, so students had some very good questions about resumes. And since they will be representing Atlantis at these workplaces, it was a good reminder of how to act in a professional setting.”

Students were very interested in the discussion about social media: who is looking at your postings, and how might it affect your chances of getting a job.

The workshop also touched on insurance, retirement planning and budgeting. Silva says those topics often catch young adults by surprise, so it’s important to know what an insurance premium is, what types of insurance are available, and the benefits of setting up a 401K or 403B – because those things will come up in life.

Silva says he was impressed by how engaged the students were and how much thought they put into the different scenarios posed to them. He will be back at Atlantis in January to repeat the workshop for seniors in the STEM Academy and the Arts, Culture & Design Academy.

Internships will begin in February. Hawkridge is busy finalizing placements, finishing up paperwork, and arranging transportation. Students will learn their assignments after they return from the holiday break.

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