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Career-development activities aren’t just for college and graduate students anymore. As labor and learning initiatives grow with the needs of our shifting economy, educators and employers are beginning to emphasize the importance of internships and work-and-learn experiences for the younger demographic.

High school students should be considered as young professionals. When you factor in the multi-tasking of their studies, athletic activities, managing relationships with friends and family, and acing their SATs for the hopes of attending their dream university, they truly understand how to balance work with play. Navigating through the occasional drama and misfit adventures, students graduate high school with a better understanding of their self-worth. But do they have a better understanding of a future career path? These students are the key demographic who need expert career guidance, in order to ensure professional success beyond the classroom.

These young students have the potential to take charge of their generation and build the skill-sets that our country greatly needs in order to solve the problems of today and tomorrow. It’s vital for students to enjoy their high school experience and eventually graduate from college to become an asset to our communities and businesses. But once they arrive onto a college campus, some students find it difficult to compete with others who had greater preparation for college and career development within their high school. High schools throughout the nation are grasping onto the idea that students don’t have to wait until college to pursue their professional dreams. Why not start in high school?

In 2014, Internships.com and Millennial Branding surveyed 4,769 college and high school students and over 300 employers throughout the country. Students were asked about their personal aspirations, career goals, and how they search for learning opportunities like internships and mentorships . The employers were asked about their recruiting techniques for young talent, and the importance of work-and-learn experiences in high school in relation to college admissions and future full-time employment. Half of the employers responded that they were currently accepting high school applicants for internships within their company. According to the survey, 60% of employers agreed that students “need to begin to focus on their careers in high school to compete for internships and future jobs.” Furthermore, 90% agreed that internship programs in high school can lead to students attending better colleges and universities. The results echo the importance of getting an early start in personal career-development.

If college is a serious aspiration for young adults, internships are the perfect way to gain work experience even before students set foot on campus. Take charge by checking out our web site to search for internships, post internship positions or help students find available opportunities.

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