Chester County Internship Program Prepares Students for Future Success

Mike Martinez, Infrastructure Architect at CCIU (left) instructs CIS students.Mike Martinez, Infrastructure Architect at CCIU (left) instructs CIS students. /Submitted Image

DOWNINGTOWN, PA — Two years after its inception, the internship program developed by the Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU) and the Technical College High School (TCHS) continues to deliver remarkable results. This initiative equips students with the skills and experience needed for a seamless transition into post-secondary education or careers. This year, thanks to a grant from the Chester County Department of Workforce Development, interns earned an hourly wage.

The innovative program focuses on students in the Computer Information Systems (CIS)-Networking Program. It immerses them in a professional environment alongside CCIU staff. Here, they work directly with network infrastructure and equipment, encountering real-world scenarios that provide invaluable hands-on training beyond classroom simulations.

Nola Lewis, a TCHS Brandywine student, shared her experience: “Working hands-on with computer networks has prepared me for the tasks I can expect to do in future jobs after graduation. There are many things not taught in the classroom that I would not have learned otherwise. I now feel more secure in my abilities to face future situations and challenges.”

The program also fosters essential professional skills. Students enhance their problem-solving, critical thinking, and collaboration abilities while tackling complex networking challenges with experienced professionals.

Joe Vecchio, a CIS Networking teacher, highlighted the program’s benefits: “One of the key benefits of CIS students participating in an internship is the opportunity to apply theoretical and classroom knowledge to real-world scenarios. Students gain hands-on experience that reinforces their technical skills. I also believe it builds their confidence and soft skills necessary for success in their future careers.”

Dr. Walter Snyder, Senior Infrastructure Architect, echoed this sentiment. “The students are eager to learn and participate in network management. We’ve witnessed remarkable growth in our interns’ confidence and preparedness for post-secondary life. They’re gaining experience in complex network skills that will set them apart as they pursue further studies or enter the workforce.”

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Larry Konig, another Senior Infrastructure Architect, expressed satisfaction with the partnership. “It’s been incredibly rewarding to work closely with these students and see their skills flourish in a real-world setting. We provide students with the fundamentals and scenarios, and they add a layer of knowledge. Not only are they learning from us, but they are also showing us creative solutions and new applications that can translate into value-added services for our customers.”

The impact of the program extends beyond technical proficiency. It gives participants a competitive edge in time management, communication, and adapting to professional environments—competencies that universities and employers highly value.

Jessica Sahl, assistant director of Innovative Educational Services at the CCIU, emphasized the program’s importance. “Our goal is to ensure our students are not only knowledgeable but truly prepared to thrive in whatever path they choose after graduation. This internship program has been instrumental in achieving that objective.”

In summary, the Chester County internship program is preparing students for future success by providing hands-on experience and valuable professional skills. As it continues to grow, it bridges the gap between education and career readiness, ensuring students are equipped to thrive in any chosen path.

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