PAST Workforce Development
By Nikki Stancampiano
The PAST Foundation recently concluded a six-week career exploration and workforce development internship experience for youth, ages 15-18. Over the course of this work-based learning program, our interns explored more than 10 STEM career paths and developed design thinking skills by solving real-world problems with support from various local industry professionals and mentors.
Interns selected a STEM career on which to focus and worked with clients to produce custom products and solutions on their behalf. Interns also completed coursework and training to obtain industry recognized credentials and certificates in the areas of drone flight, CAD and additive manufacturing, media production, cybersecurity, marketing, leadership, engineering, service technology, and CPR & AED (Automated External Defibrillator).
Our Media Production interns filmed, produced, and edited a PAST Virtual Tour Video and our Workforce Program Video using skills they learned under the guidance of media professionals with DaVinci Resolve and Adobe Premiere Tools. Our Drone Flight interns collaborated with the media team to capture drone images for videos, and also developed resources for future students looking to pursue Drone Pilot licensure.
CAD & Additive Manufacturing interns designed and 3D-printed a part to hold a sensor on one of their machines, IC3D, and designed ASL Hand models for See 3D, to help individuals with visual impairments learn sign language using OnShape and SolidWorks.
In addition to enhancing technical skills and earning certifications in a variety of STEM careers, interns developed essential personal skills and habits including resume writing, collaboration and teamwork, budgeting, leadership, interview skills, and they also conducted personal passion projects in their communities. Passion projects included mental health awareness campaigns, work in community gardens, volunteering at animal shelters and soup kitchens, cleaning up parks, and facilitating reading clubs with children. Alongside carrying out passion projects in their communities, the interns collectively spearheaded a donation drive to build hygiene kits and managed to exceed their goal and put together 112 kits for people in need.
Collectively, our 16 interns earned more than 50 career-related certificates and received over 60 commendations from local and state officials at the conclusion of the program. This experience undoubtedly increased their value, competency, and efficiency in some of the most highly competitive industries, and the attainment of Industry Recognized Credentials approved by the Ohio Department of Education also allowed interns to earn high school graduation points. In regards to how this program has impacted the trajectory of their life, one of our interns said, “I definitely recommend this program because it will teach you so much about yourself as well as how you work with others.”
We want to sincerely thank our many sponsors and partners that contributed to this amazing summer experience, especially the Workforce Development Board of Central Ohio for making this opportunity possible.
If you are an educator or school employee looking to bring workforce development opportunities to your students, learn more about our fellowship opportunities!