OEC Academy and Internships
In the summer of 2022, OEC had a problem. The summer was booked full of project installations, with too few installers to do the work. To find help fast, OEC turned to personal connections with high school students looking for a summer job. In no time, jobs were installing on time thanks to extra help from these short-term students.
Connecting With Local Schools
To avoid falling into the same situation in 2023, OEC developed a free four-month training course, “OEC Academy,” for high school students interested in the trades. Then team members from OEC construction and furniture connected with CTE instructors around the valley, inviting their students and visiting classrooms. By February, the program had students ready to learn and to vie for a paid summer internship.
OEC Academy happens one night a month, and students from all over the West Ada School District gather at OEC’s downtown Boise showroom. Here, the OEC construction and furniture teams join forces to teach students everything from basic measurement and hand tools to heavy equipment, safety, how to read blueprints, and even building. Group challenges and games earn students points, and at the end of the academy, at least one participant will be offered a paid summer internship.
While this program has been an excellent way to expose high school kids to different trade options, they need more depth of experience to excel in the workplace.
Working With West Ada To Create Internships
That is why OEC asked West Ada CTE teachers what they needed to help equip students after
graduation. The teacher’s answers were loud and clear, internships. There is a big, wide world full of trades, and students need to know all their options to make their decisions easier after graduation. Internships are the perfect way for students to broaden their horizons and for businesses to find talented young workers. Through their CTE classes, many students are OSHA 30 certified, so they are already cleared to go on various job sites, making it even easier for businesses to work with them.
OEC asked West Ada CTE teachers what they needed to help equip students after graduation. The teacher’s answers were loud and clear, internships.
Through the West Ada program, companies interview students and selected them for an internship. Once selected, the students are spend certain days at a business. During those days, they go to the business for the time they would be in class. Their internship hours give them credit toward class; while they get real-world experience. Thanks to these internships, students gain exposure to multiple career options, and some even have jobs lined up after graduation.
Local Businesses Can Help
Not every child wants to go to college. Some love the hands-on problem-solving that working in the trades provides. As our community grows, we need skilled tradesmen and women to support us. Luckily, as we have learned at OEC, businesses can significantly impact raising the next generation in the trades. Whether it is creating a four-month training program like OEC Academy or partnering with a local school district, we can all make a difference in our community’s lives and economy.
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