nConnect’s Opportunity Internship Program Participant Awarded Scholarship for Mechanical Engineering
nConnect participant Chelsea Dole, a graduate from Legacy High School in Vancouver, was awarded a scholarship from the Young Professionals of Vancouver. Chelsea completed a 90-hour internship through the Opportunity Internship Program (OIP) at Sigma Design, a product design and development company that provides services to high-tech companies in the Pacific Northwest. Chelsea intends to complete a transfer degree from Clark College and then transfer to Washington State University (Vancouver) to complete her Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. “After all the work I did in my Pre-Engineering class at the Clark County Skills Center and my internship experience at Sigma Design, I am confident that this is the career that I want to pursue,” commented Chelsea.
The OIP, managed by nConnect, provides 90-hour internships for high school students who are interested in science, technology, engineering, and math careers. In addition, the students receive one-on-one support from nConnect’s STEM Coach, Manlio Castillo, as well as a $500 stipend and access to other scholarships.
The SW Washington OIP is administered by the Southwest Washington Workforce Development Council (SWWDC) in partnership with nConnect, Educational Service District 112, and local school districts. The program is funded by a Department of Labor grant administered by the State Workforce Board. Additional funds for student support and stipends are provided by the Workforce Investment Act and Department of Labor’s (STEM) grant, both of which are administered by the SWWDC.
“It’s making a difference in the world one life at a time.” This is a response from Carol Courtney, one of nConnect’s Opportunity Partnership Program (OPP) mentors, when we asked her what kind of impact our program had on the community. Carol is an independent consultant who was paired with a Clark College student named Beverly. Beverly is in the medical office support program at Clark and is also a participant in OPP. This program works to connect industry professionals with students who are in college health care, manufacturing, and welding programs. The goal of the program is to have protégés be confident and knowledgeable about their career choices, have developed a network of contacts, and be better prepared to quickly transition to, and succeed in, a job within their field. After their time together we asked Carol about her experience as a mentor:
A passion for a career in the STEM field is what ties mentor Dave Elwood and protégé Dustin Wynn together. Dave is a maintenance supervisor at Pacific Fiber who was paired with Dustin Wynn a student participating in the welding program at LLC. Dave and Dustin were paired together in nConnect’s Opportunity Grant Partnership Program which works to connect industry professionals with students who are in college health care, manufacturing, and welding programs. By the end of the program protégés will be confident and knowledgeable about their career choices, have developed a network of contacts, and be better prepared to quickly transition to, and succeed in, a job within their field. Dave and Dustin are near the end of the program so we asked Dave some questions about his experience.
His interview is below:
What kind of subjects did you and your protégé talk about?
“We spent quite a bit of time talking about how to present your self in a professional setting. How you should look, how to talk, questions to ask, the right things to do when you are talking to industry professionals. I wanted to make sure he was confident when he was presenting himself and really think he is.”
What projects did you work on with your protégé?
“A lot of our time together was spent introducing Dustin to other professionals and helping him network with them. That way he had some connections to other people in the industry that could possibly help him get a job once he completes his program.”
Sarah Budnick, Brenzell Brewster and Jessica Hausinger have been working together to understand what it takes to be successful in a career in the STEM field. Sarah is an on the job trainer and mentor for the Red Cross and has been a mentor for Brenzell and Jessica who are students at Clark college in the phlebotomy program. The girls are participating in nConnect’s Opportunity Grant Partnership Program which works to connect industry professionals with students who are in college health care, manufacturing, and welding programs. By the end of the program protégés will be confident and knowledgeable about their career choices, have developed a network of contacts, and be better prepared to quickly transition to, and succeed in, a job within their field. Sarah and the students are close to the end of the program so we asked Sarah about her experience working as mentor.
Speed Mentoring at Hudson's Bay High School
“It’s so cool that high school students have this opportunity and I can’t wait to share as much as I can.” said Dave Hardister, a volunteer participating in speed mentoring at Hudson’s Bay high school. Dave along with six other mentors were very eager to share their experience in design careers. The mentors were experienced professionals from the Vancouver and Portland area who have careers in the architecture field. For speed mentoring, students from Ms Hovee’s advanced design class rotate in small groups to each of the volunteers and ask them questions about their industry, their educational background, and aspects of their jobs. All participating students were interested in pursuing design focused careers, including architecture, urban planning, landscape architect, and car design.