Home News Local News PED: 2,300 students complete paid summer internships

PED: 2,300 students complete paid summer internships

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The New Mexico Public Education Department provided 2,300 high school students with paid internships this summer.

According to a news release issued Tuesday, the PED distributed $9.89 million in federal funding to 22 tribal and county governments that placed high school students in six-week internships within government, non-profit or business partners of their choosing.

“After an incredibly difficult year, it was pivotal to provide high school students an opportunity to explore career opportunities while earning a paycheck this summer,” said Public Education Secretary Designate Kurt Steinhaus. “I am proud of the collaborative effort between the College and Career Readiness Bureau, county and tribal governments, non-profits, businesses and our high school students to arrange this successful program on short notice.”

Working 20 hours per week, students participated in dozens of career opportunities in fire operations, emergency management, human resources, maintenance and other fields.

The following county and tribal governments took part in the program: Bernalillo, Curry, De Baca, Dona Ana, Grant, Los Alamos, Roosevelt, Sandoval, San Juan, Santa Fe, Socorro, Taos, Torrance, Valencia, Jicarilla Apache, Laguna-Cibola, Navajo Nation, Ohkay Owingeh, Picuris, Pojoaque and Santo Domingo.

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In addition, HELP New Mexico was part of the effort, with students from Cibola, Colfax, Rio Arriba and San Miguel counties.

The program’s costs were covered by the third round of funding from the federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, part of federal COVID-19 pandemic relief efforts. The funding covered wages of student interns and adult coordinators.

Student interns were paid the hourly minimum wage of their designated county or tribal government. The intern coordinators, who were subject to background checks, received $500 a week to help seek, train and oversee the interns on a weekly basis.

“I loved it,” said Aztec High School student Brooklyn Shaw, who interned with San Juan County’s Human Resources Department. “My mentor helped me make my resume better, and I received all the interpersonal communications and telephone etiquette training I need to get an entry-level job one day. It’s given me the confidence that if there is something I want to do, I can do it.”

“It shows you not every job is going to be a piece of cake,” said intern Alexander Wood, who worked with San Juan County’s Fire Operations team. “There’s always going to be something that throws a knot into the ropes and you think, ‘I can’t get out.’ But figuring it out is what helps you moving forward.”

The following entities contributed to the implementation and administration of the Summer Enrichment Internship Program: The PED’s College and Career Readiness Bureau, the Department of Workforce Solutions, Future Focused Education and Farmington Municipal Schools.

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