BY SOFIA PARKER
Junior year is arguably the most important year in one’s high school career. Between preparing for the SAT, trying to succeed in classes and participating in extracurricular activities, it can be easy to forget the true objective of doing all of these things: the real world.
There is now a new program in Cooper City High School (CCHS) to help juniors prepare for typical real world practices. The Liftoff Program, overseen by Tara Daub, will give juniors the opportunity to learn real-world skills and even get a paid summer internship.
In a PowerPoint released on Canvas in November, it is revealed that the program originates from Talent Forge, a company that specializes in forging “Life changing relationships between student talent and business leaders through work-based learning,” as the page on Liftoff states on browardschools.com.
The requirements are quite simple; participants in the Liftoff Program must be high school juniors attending a Broward County Public School with the ability and willingness to work part-time in the summer for at least five weeks.
While the requirements are fairly easy to fulfill, the commitments one has to make are more substantial. First, participants must complete an internship success training on Xello, an online college and career readiness software.
In order to even be considered by a business, students must also create a resume that consists of their education, skills, strengths and weaknesses. They will get assistance from the school’s Career Champion, which is Mrs. Daub at CCHS, in making their resumes.
Possibly the most important part of the program, and the part that it focuses the most on, is the learning of “soft-skills,” or skills like communication, professionalism, teamwork/collaboration, thinking critically and problem solving that are not explicitly taught in school.
The aforementioned Powerpoint that was posted in November goes over what specifically is taught, things like how to behave in a professional setting: staying off your phone, being proactive, keeping private information, learning from your mistakes and so on.
Email etiquette, something rarely if ever taught in school, is also something the Liftoff Program goes over. Using correct structure, not using abbreviations (OMG, LOL, etc), keeping it short and watching your tone are some of the specifics being taught to students.
General interaction skills, including phone and interview etiquette, is also included in what Liftoff teaches to juniors. Things like answering the phone within three rings, only using speakerphone when necessary, dressing for success, and following up with the interviewer are emphasized to students.
“I think this is a great thing being introduced to the school,” junior Erika Poirier tsaid. “Being able to get a paid internship provided by the school is an opportunity not many people get.”
The compensation for this commitment is quite rewarding. In exchange for the 120 total internship hours in the summer, with 25 hours per week, students will earn an income that is at or above minimum wage, depending on what business or company the internship is at.
“I really like that this is available to us,” junior Isabel Perez-Benitez said. “I think it’s a great opportunity for students to get prepared for the real world.”