BRAC Program Connects High School Students with Internships at Baton Rouge Businesses

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BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – The Baton Rouge Area Chamber and East Baton Rouge Parish Schools have partnered to connect high school juniors with internships at businesses in the Baton Rouge area.

“The EBRPSS 12th Grade Internship Program was developed to provide rising seniors
with robust work-based learning experiences that directly match their career
aspirations and post-secondary plans,” said Ben Necaise, associate superintendent of workforce development for the school system.

Morgan Kastner Almeida, BRAC’s senior director of communications, said the Talent Action Collaborative was designed to close the gap between the workforce and education by being business-led, industry-specific and solution-oriented.

“This initiative allows business and industry to steer education to the specific industry needs while training their future employees and ensuring Louisiana’s talent retention,” she said. “A strong talent pipeline is increasingly important to the economic growth and prosperity of a region.”

The internship initiative is one of the chamber’s approaches to increasing the region’s talent pipeline. Almeida said high school students are being exposed to careers that are not only expected to see growth with lots of career availability but also that are well-paying industries.

“This sets students up to learn more about the very real opportunities in the region, that they may not have been aware of previously, and it begins to give them the workplace skills they need to be successful whether they go directly to the workforce post-graduation or choose to go to a two- or four-year school,” she said.

Here’s how it works

Students who are selected will receive an internship that lasts 155 hours and results in a $2,500 stipend.

Almeida said that this means summer internships account for longer and more days within the week to reach the same amount of hours. School-year internships can be spread throughout the year, meaning students will go to the internship less frequently but will be in the program longer.

Students and businesses can decide if they would like to sign up for summer or school-year internships but both options are 155 hours.

Necaise said they ask that the students be exposed to a variety of experiences during the study programs to give them more experience. They also get to start building their career networks.

“Students in both the summer and school year programs receive soft skills instruction and career readiness lessons before their placement. This included resume development and practice interview opportunities. Completing an internship is an excellent item to add to a resume because it provides evidence of prior experience, commitment, and initiative,” he said.

The program is only for students within the East Baton Rouge Parish Public School System but Almeida said that the internships can be based throughout the parish and surrounding parishes.

“Our goal is to spread career awareness, so students know what opportunities are available to them, and to build up professional skills as they determine their next steps, whether that is entering the workforce or continuing to higher education options,” she said.

The deadline to apply for the Talent Action Collaborative is Wednesday, April 19. More information can be found here.

“The number of students who enter the program is based on the number of businesses that offer internship opportunities. Our current pilot program has just under 120 students,” Necaise said.

They are still recruiting businesses to offer internships for both semesters of the 2023-24 school year.

“Businesses can learn more about the program by going to our business partnership portal located here: WFD Support Site – Business Partnership Portal),” Necaise said. “And they can sign up to learn more about the program or have a workforce development team member connect with them by completing the application survey here: EBRPSS 12th Grade Internship Program Business Recruitment Portal (Summer 2023 and School Year 2023-2024).”

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