By Andrew Goodman
Over the summer, I got to participate in an internship with the Hamblen County Department Of Education and their Instructional Technology Department in partnership with the Career and Technical Education department. I started in June 2020 and immediately began preparing laptops for the students of Hamblen County with two other interns, Preston Huertas and Ian Neilson, who were there the year before and just graduated from Morristown West High School. I was excited to see what happened behind the scenes. It made me appreciate the Department of Education a bit more than I did before. The other interns I got to work with educated me on so much that I almost couldn't believe it.
I also got to learn from a lot of other great people, including Morristown West High's very own Dustin Knight, Senior Technology Specialist. Knight, along with many other fantastic people, taught me more than just how to fix a broken computer screen or install an operating system. They taught me the many aspects of how to really work a job, and how to treat others. This internship has really changed my view on the workforce and has helped me improve my skill set when it comes to technology.
As the we got closer and closer to school starting, I realized the amount of stress that built up inside the other interns and even the technicians as they tried to prepare thousands of laptops for students to take home and use as a connection to classrooms when they may be stuck at home.
Then came the high school laptops. With covid-19 everywhere in the news, every laptop had to be sanitized before it could be updated. While this was a frustration, it ensured that not only we would be safe, but that the students who received them were safe. There were laptops that looked brand new, some not so much. This allowed me the experience to learn how to repair different pieces of a computer.
Once school was about to start, a new intern joined us as another left. At that time, all three of us were offered the opportunity to work the online student Helpdesk with me working part time after school. This was a great opportunity for me since I am still in school. It not only gave me a job to have after school, but allowed me to do something I love. I have got to really improve my customer service and communication skills. I still work after school as an intern and really enjoy it. I feel that it allows me the opportunity to continue to learn while working a job.
This internship is part of an initiative to prepare students for the workforce and allow them to think about what career they want to choose. Hamblen County CTE supervisor Chuck Carter stated, “Our goal in CTE is to provide students with opportunities to test drive careers as they create post-secondary and career goals. This is exactly what an example of Work Based Learning should look like!”
Altogether, this internship has provided me with a great deal of experience, workforce training, and character building. I can never repay for the opportunity given to me and the many other interns who have participated in this program. It has definitely improved many aspects of my life, and I would recommend that every student try an internship, even if it is not in technology!