Youth Internship Program at UWNCNM ends with road show
This fall, UWNCNM hosted 12 youth for a 10-week paid internship to
- gain experience and skills working with a nonprofit agency
- co-create a traveling, data-driven “Road Show” designed to engage youth voices in Rising Together decision-making
- develop skills applicable to a career area of their choice.
The interns, from Bernalillo, Sandoval, Torrance, and Valencia counties, represented a diverse set of interests and lived experiences and ranged in age from 15-19. A priority was placed on interns developing autonomy, confidence, and leadership. One intern commented, “My favorite part of the internship was how intern-led it was” while another said, “My favorite part was when the interns were allowed to facilitate the meetings.”
Every week, the youth interns had the opportunity to meet UWNCNM staff and learn about their respective careers. Additionally, a few guest speakers were invited to present on relevant topics. One highlight was a presentation on data collection by Dr. Gabriel Sanchez, Director of the UNM Center for Social Policy. Interns chose a career focus, Data, Marketing, Events, or Finance, to research, form teams, and develop plans for the creation and implementation of a Road Show. Illustrating the impact of the internship in this area, 67% of interns agreed and 33% strongly agreed that they learned something during the internship that helps them prepare for future jobs.
Further, the interns chose a Rising Together priority area to plan activities designed to engage community and collect data on Early-Childhood Education, Attendance, College Career Readiness, and Community Resources during the Road Shows. Interns developed skills such as relationship building, problem solving, and communication while working both independently and with teams. Accommodating student schedules and different home counties meant interns met and worked virtually for most of the internship: “I learned better communication skills. I had never had to use email or connect with other interns as much as I did during these 10 weeks, but it helped me improve my professional connection skills.” Two areas for improvement expressed by interns were the need for more opportunities to meet in person and spending time in each of the central New Mexico counties to learn about their strengths and needs.
The youth internships concluded in mid-December with interactive Road Shows at the Los Lunas Public Library and the Albuquerque Museum where interns were able to share with and learn from community members about educational and family stability priorities. Our Rising Together team is grateful to have hosted and learned from such bright, passionate, and engaged youth. We look forward to similar opportunities of engaging youth and communities in our five north-central New Mexico counties! As an intern excitedly shared, “I think this is a wonderful internship and every employee is wonderful and amazing at making people feel like they belong. It would be the best idea to keep going with these types of internships.”