Charlottesville-area internship program shifts online

Charlottesville-area internship program shifts online
(FILE) (Source: wvir)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -The Community Attention Youth Internship program (CAYIP) gives teenagers a paid summer internship and places them with a business to learn hands on skills, which is significantly harder in a year where the world is going remote.

“I was struggling with what to do with my summer, because of COVID and a lot of things got canceled and plans were sort of out the window, and I was like, ‘oh this sounds great,” Lucia Crosby, who interned this summer, said.

CAYIP seeks to teach workplace-readiness skills. Crosby is interested in a career in I.T., and the program gave her the chance to connect with a professional in the field.

“What a day in his life looks like? What sort of hard and soft skills are necessary for that sort of career?” Crosby said.

As the pandemic shuttered businesses across the country, the program’s directors had to make a decision: cancel the summer programming, or go virtual.

“Kids need something to keep them connected, engaged. They need an opportunity to make money, they need access, and so we believe that CAYIP has all of those things. We just need to be a little more creative,” Charlottesville Department Human Services Deputy Director Misty Graves said.

This year operated more like a classroom where students engaged via online modules, heard from guest speakers in a variety of careers, and completed a final project related to their long-term career goals.

“We really wanted to make sure that it was going to be meaningful for teenagers. We wanted them to be able to come into any format and find it relevant, and for them to be able to say that, ‘I really learned a lot in the program this summer,‘” CAYIP Coordinator Annie Sechrist said.

With work comes pay. Interns receive up to $100 per week, but Crosby says she is being responsible and saving the money.

Crosby said the biggest lesson learned this summer is to not get too attached to the first draft of anything.

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