At the start of the school year, it was revealed that the district’s bus driver shortage would hit the Career Academy programs hard – no field trip buses would be available for our students indefinitely. Charter buses are an option, but they cost over $1,000 per field trip. With one of our Academy goals focused on giving students real-world experiences in the industries they’re studying, this presented a unique challenge.
Enter: Day Shadow Internships. Short-form, real-world, professional-led opportunities for s tudents to learn about the industry they’re interested in. Nease’s trial run of this effort took place on the teacher planning day, October 17th, so students wouldn’t have to worry about missing class. We reached out to business partners in the Stellar Academy of Engineering and the Academy of Hospitality & Tourism and they delivered! Opportunities presented to Academy Juniors and Seniors included day shadow internships with the Sawgrass Country Club, The Treasury Collection Event Venues, Apex Technologies, NAS Jacksonville engineers and Stellar. 23 students took part in the event, which included half-day visits with professionals at their businesses. At the Sawgrass Country Club, three Hospitality students enjoyed a tour of the location led by the director of Human Resources, learned about the various departments at the club, and spent time with the director of member services. Meanwhile, in St. Augustine, one of our juniors in the Academy of Hospitality and Tourism enjoyed a packed agenda planned by The Treasury Collection Event Venue’s Director of Operations and their Wedding & Event Manager. Our intern met with the marketing, sales and event staff, toured both event spaces at The Treasury and the Lightner Museum, and learned about future internship opportunities with the company.
Students in the Stellar Academy of Engineering had three different options to choose from: a morning at Stellar Headquarters, a look inside the F/A-18 hangers at NAS Jacksonville, or experiencing professional life in a locally-owned construction engineering firm with Apex Technology. At Stellar, a dozen engineering students received a general introduction to Stellar, and then enjoyed presentations by professionals from the process engineering, civil, architectural, structural, refrigeration, mechanical (HVAC and piping) and electrical divisions. They also enjoyed a virtual-reality walkthrough of one of Stellar’s building designs, a brief discussion with Human Resources and learned a little about “VDC” (virtual design and construction). Just over the Buchman Bridge at NAS Jacksonville, students spent time with structures engineer Nathan Pavich, who works on the F/A-18 Legacy Hornets. Students got up close and personal with the aircraft, and learned about the day to day work that takes place in the aircraft hangers and in the offices at NAS Jax. In Regency, students spent the morning at Apex Technology, where a team of local professionals run an innovative, full-service construction engineering company, focused on designing and engineering single-and-multi-family residences for homebuilders. This was a fantastic opportunity to learn directly from professional engineers working in structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and component engineering and design.
Nease would like to thank our business partners, all part of the Stellar Academy of Engineering or Academy of Hospitality & Tourism Advisory Boards, for providing our students with these phenomenal experiences. We are hoping to host another day shadow internship event in February, with a focus on all three Career Academy realms: Engineering, Hospitality & Tourism, and Communications. If you are involved in a business willing to take on one or more internship students for a few hours on Monday, February 6th, please reach out to Nease’s Academy Coordinator, Jaime Combs, at [email protected]