High School interns pitch Capstone presentations to West Virginia business leaders 

Education Alliance offers innovative Summer Internship that blends in-person and hybrid experiences

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – This week executives with Appalachian Power observed the capstone presentations of high school interns from The Education Alliance’s WV Ready Summer Internship program. Together, they learned about the students’ life-changing experiences in their summer internships. 

The WV Ready Summer Internship program began in summer 2019 as a four-week, paid internship program created by The Education Alliance that places rising high school juniors and seniors with West Virginia businesses. Since then, the program transitioned to include in-person, hybrid, and virtual internship experiences that reduced geographic barriers and allowed more students across the state to participate. This year’s Summer Internship program placed 30 interns from Boone, Cabell, Doddridge, Fayette, Harrison, Kanawha, Marion, Mason, Monongalia, Preston, Putnam, and Wayne counties at five West Virginia businesses. Participating businesses include Appalachian Power in Fayette County (Line Mechanic Internship) and Kanawha County (Hybrid Internship), Hope Gas in Harrison County, Mon Health in Monongalia County, Solar Holler in Cabell County,  and Toyota West Virginia in Putnam County.

The initiative, funded by grants from the American Electric Power Foundation, Rural Action Inc., and Toyota West Virginia, provides internship experiences to help students become “WV Ready Graduates” equipped with knowledge and skills for success after high school. 

“During their capstone presentations, the interns showcased not only technical skills needed but also practical life skills like teamwork, professionalism, and work ethic that they learned during their internship,” said Aaron Walker, President and Chief Operating Officer at Appalachian Power. 

The WV Ready Summer Internship program consisted of three main components: on-site work-based learning experiences, mentoring, and capstone projects. To strengthen career awareness, interns participated in weekly on-site work-based learning experiences and mentoring meetings with various departments at Appalachian Power. To gain career readiness, interns were placed in teams and tasked with completing and presenting a capstone project.

On Wednesday, during the final week of the four-week internship, each intern team gave their capstone presentation to their business’ leadership team and outlined their experience and highlighted their personal growth and future career goals. Appalachian Power’s Hybrid Interns summer interns had their choice of two capstone projects: create a Tik Tok about the importance of safety compliance at Appalachian Power or create a presentation on the importance of recycling at Appalachian Power and potential recycling program improvements for the company. 

“West Virginia has a bright future. We need to ensure students understand the many career opportunities and develop the skills necessary to be successful,” said Dr. Amelia Courts, President/CEO of The Education Alliance. “The WV Ready Summer Internship is a fantastic opportunity for high school students to develop those skills while experiencing high skill/high wage careers right here in the mountain state. I want to thank Appalachian Power, Hope Gas, Mon Health, Solar Holler, and Toyota Motor Mfg. WV, for their commitment to our youth and I encourage other businesses to join us in offering quality internships to high school students.”

The program is anticipated to be expanded in coming years to serve more of the state’s soon-to-be graduates, with the eventual goal being to expand statewide. Click here to access additional pictures from the capstone presentations. To learn more about the program, visit EducationAlliance.org/Internships.

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About The Education Alliance

Founded in July 1983 as the first statewide public education fund in the nation, The Education Alliance is a private-sector initiative to help businesses understand the importance of financially and resourcefully supporting the state’s public schools and to give business a voice in public education that advances policies and practices to continually improve public school student achievement in West Virginia.

Photo Cutline:

High School Interns pose with AEP and Education Alliance representatives after giving capstone presentations.