San Juan County seeking applicants, businesses for summer internship program
Deadline to apply for program is May 26, with work starting June 20
- The internships last for six weeks for 20 hours a week and pay $12 and hour.
- The program drew 45 teens last year in San Juan County.
- Officials hope to fill 100 positions in the county this year.
FARMINGTON — High school students who are looking for something productive to do this summer as the school year nears its end are being encouraged to apply for the Summer Enrichment Internship Program offered by state and San Juan County officials.
The program, which is in its second year in the county, seeks to place 100 teenagers in paid internships with various businesses or government agencies. The deadline to apply is May 26, and the internships begin June 20.
The San Juan County program is part of a statewide initiative presented by the New Mexico Public Education Department to put young people to work and set them up for future success in the workplace. Last year, 1,275 students across 26 counties participated in the program, according to a PED news release.
Tara Martinez, the deputy human resources officer for San Juan County, said 45 teens from the county were part of last year's program, when the initiative was launched in a short time period. This year, the run-up period to the program's launch was longer, and she said county officials have set a goal of attracting 100 teens.
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The internships last for six weeks for 20 hours a week and pay $12 and hour. The entire cost of the program is funded by the PED, and businesses that are willing to host an intern are being sought, as well, Martinez said.
"There's no cost to the business except time," she said.
Program participants are required to be at least 16 years old, and eligibility this year has been extended to teens who will graduate this year or who graduated in 2021. The program includes weekly classroom training sessions in which interns are taught such subjects as office etiquette, how to dress for an office and how to put together a résumé. The rest of their time is spent on the job getting hands-on experience, with county adult intern coordinators monitoring their performance.
Martinez emphasized that the program is designed to provide participants with a substantive, quality work experience, one that will better prepare them for a full-time job when they get ready to enter the labor market full time as an adult.
She said her own HR office had an intern last year, a young woman who found the experience very meaningful.
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"She had never wanted in her life to work in HR," Martinez said, explaining that the student nevertheless warmed to the task after being exposed to the job and now is considering a career in the field. "She will be able to take what she learned as she moves into her future and make something from that."
Approximately 50 applications for this year's program already have been received, Martinez said, and she anticipates the program will fill up by the May 26 deadline. She said any business that needs help this summer and is willing to work with a teenager should reach out to her to make its interest known, regardless of the field.
"(We want) as many as we can," she said. "We just want to make sure we have 100 kids placed."
The program is up against some stiff competition this summer, as Martinez said the job market for teenagers is relatively good, especially in the world of fast food, where some eateries pay up to $14 or $15 an hour. But the Summer Enrichment Internship Program offers participants the chance to work outside the fast food realm, often in a setting that may more closely match the kind of work they hope to do as adults.
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The program also offers participants the chance to serve their community. Martinez said during the last week of the program in 2021, more than a dozen interns spent a few days cleaning up a trash-riddled site near Safety City, the city's public safety training site on County Road 6480 near Tibbetts Middle School in northwest Farmington.
The internships continue through July 29. To apply, visit sjcounty.net, click on the "Jobs" header, then click on the "2022 summer intern" header. Businesses that are interested in hosting an intern are asked to email Martinez at firstname.lastname@example.org and leave a business name and contact name, along with a phone number and a brief description of the industry.
Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or email@example.com. Support local journalism with a digital subscription: http://bit.ly/2I6TU0e.