EDUCATION CONNECTION’s Regional Internship program started in 1994 with a grant from the Job Training Partnership Act and continues today through funding from participating districts. It began with just 10 students and over the last 10 years consistently has had between 70 and 80 students participating annually with more on a waiting list.
Hundreds of students from the greater Danbury area have benefitted from meeting professionals in their career interest areas, learning the skills that are necessary for success in that field, collaborating with students from different high schools at the after school workshops and field trips, and from weekly reflections on what the experience has done for them.
The program has been redesigned over the years to meet funding and grant requirements but the mission of creating career and academic awareness and opportunity among the region’s youth has stayed the same. Today, the Regional Internship Program is for selected juniors and seniors from 9 participating districts in the greater Danbury/Waterbury area. Students interested in healthcare careers can have up to two paid placements over the course of the school year. Students must attend after-school workshops where they learn from career speakers and about employability topics such as time management. Students are also required to participate in the online component of the program (Moodle), where course materials and information can be found as well as where assignments are listed and completed.
New Milford and Danbury Hospitals, now the Western Connecticut Health Network, and Waterbury Hospital are the largest providers of services and placements for the students, but so many other valuable placements have been found over the years with our partners in private practices throughout the area in pediatrics, orthopedics, dentistry, veterinary, rehabilitative services, and pain management, just to name a few. The program would not be possible without the generous and consistent support from the community.
With the rising costs of higher education, it is more important than ever that our students be better prepared to make their post-secondary choices and the Regional Internship program strives to be one way they can achieve this goal.