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Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere and Plano ISD Superintendent Sara Bonser congratulate interns at the end-of-summer celebratory drive-by parade in 2020. Photo by James Edward

In his final year of service to the City of Plano, Mayor Harry LaRosiliere took a fond look back at the first seven years of the Plano Mayor’s Summer Internship Program (PMSIP) as he announced plans for the 2021 program. Recruitment for businesses to sign up is underway now through April 15.

Presented by Capital One, the competitive “learn-and-earn” program connects students from Plano’s award-winning and nationally recognized school district with some of the area’s top corporations and nonprofits. The eight-week paid internship program – offering remote and on-site placements, or a combination of both – runs June 7-July 30 (although some start dates are flexible). Students earn a minimum of $10 per hour working 20-40 hours per week.

During a virtual kick off earlier today with sponsors and employers, Mayor LaRosiliere celebrated the accomplishments of PMSIP alumni who have since moved on to medical school, graduate studies and exciting careers at Fortune 100 companies. (View the entire media event video here. For just the alumni video, go here.) He also saluted the business and nonprofit community who backed the program – even during the unprecedented pandemic.

“Our alumni’s success is evidence that this program delivers results. They have gone on to graduate from top universities and work in fascinating fields such as biotechnology, cyber security, medicine, entrepreneurship and beyond,” said Mayor LaRosiliere. “These amazing youth represent the tremendous talent pool that exists in our city. I am excited to see this program flourish for years and years to come.”

Mayor LaRosiliere launched the program in 2014, which has since grown to serve more than 600 students to date. Additionally, thousands of students have benefited from the internship prep training provided prior to the Job Fair each year.

Highlights of today’s program included a short video featuring selfies shot by PMSIP alumni such as Aakriti Guar, a 2015 intern who has since received dual degrees in accounting and supply chain management from the University of Illinois. She currently works at Grant Thornton in their risk advisory practice and attributes PMSIP for teaching and helping her build a great network of talented individuals who have since helped her in her professional and personal life.

Also sharing her testimony was 2014 intern McKenna Black, a TCU marketing graduate pursuing her master’s at George Washington University in security policy studies. She credits the program for her early exposure to leadership and product management skills at a Fortune 500 company at just 16 years of age. Other standouts include Adrian Sadoogh, a 2014 alum at Junior Achievement, who now works as a financial advisor at 10x Genomics; Alexander Tekle, a two-time 2015 and 2016 intern alum, who earned two degrees and currently works at Google as a software engineer; and Austin Olvera, a 2015 alum at Collin County Meals on Wheels who is currently pursuing a bioengineering graduate program at Rice University.

Along with Mayor LaRosiliere, Plano ISD Superintendent Sara Bonser; Stewart Clancy, Senior Director, Risk Management, Capital One; and Steven Webb, JPMorgan Chase, lent their support. They echoed the importance of the program for both students and employers, emphasizing that underwriting internships at nonprofits opens students’ eyes and exposes them to professional, meaningful careers.

“Capital One is proud to be a founding partner of the Plano Mayor’s Summer Internship Program, providing students with opportunities to push the boundaries of their education beyond the classroom,” said Stewart Clancy, Senior Director, Risk Management, Capital One. “Our commitment to workforce development builds on the Capital One Impact Initiative to advance socioeconomic mobility by closing gaps in equity and opportunity.”

Also sharing their experiences were two 2020 PMSIP interns who worked during COVID-19 – Olivia McCoy, a senior at Plano East High School who interned at the Plano Chamber of Commerce, and Grant Stapleton, a senior at Plano West High School who interned virtually at Frito-Lay/PepsiCo. They shared their experiences and how they grew, their favorite memories.

Even though much of the program pivoted to a virtual format, they came away with a unique skill set – from learning how to stand out at a Job Fair on Zoom, to understanding the challenges that companies and nonprofits faced during the COVID crisis.

“It was great to hear from our 2020 interns because they were true trailblazers, navigating the intern experience during a pandemic, adapting, and gaining the self-discipline needed to stay on task during the work-from-home era,” said Superintendent Bonser. “And we are so grateful to the companies who remained committed to providing our students with amazing jobs, support and mentorships.”

Mayor LaRosiliere also recognized the longtime support of presenting sponsor Capital One, along with Plano ISD and JPMorgan Chase (Job Fair sponsor) who is underwriting 20 interns in the technology and healthcare industries and the nonprofit sector. Other program sponsors are Atmos Energy, Bank of America, Boeing, City of Plano, Dallas Mavericks, FedEx Office, Granite Properties, Liberty Mutual, NTT DATA Services, Ericsson and Oncor. He also encouraged employers to support the new mayor whose election is slated for early May.

Businesses and nonprofits are encouraged to sign up and hire one or more interns. Businesses may also underwrite an intern at a nonprofit or government agency, or become a program sponsor. Companies pay a $500 program fee for each intern that covers training and enrichment activities, the Job Fair and the luncheon ticket.

Details and the online application are available at planomayorsinterns.org. Companies interested in signing up may contact Vicki Wait at vicki@vwaitgroup.com.