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Calling it an invaluable “learn and earn” opportunity, Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere this week urged local businesses to participate in the Plano Mayor’s Summer Internship Program, an initiative that gives outstanding Plano public high school students an opportunity to gain real-world experience through paid employment in a professional workplace. The program, in its second year, combines Plano’s vibrant business community with a nationally recognized school district, connecting motivated high school students with exceptional local companies and organizations. The summer internship program runs eight weeks from June 15 through August 7 and concludes with a celebratory luncheon on Thursday, August 13. Businesses may sign up online at planomayorsinterns.org.

“We launched the Plano Mayor’s Summer Internship Program in 2014, and the response to this ‘learn and earn’ opportunity was amazing. We are committed to growing this program and helping more of our young folks,” said Mayor LaRosiliere. “And the best thing is that both sides win – the students are broadening their skills, learning discipline and building confidence, and the employers make connections with the best and the brightest who will be our future workforce. It sends a clear message that after graduation Plano is not only where they started but can also be a destination for their career.”

Mayor LaRosiliere adds that many of the prospective interns are first-generation, college-bound students who might not have professional role models in their life but are “diamonds in the rough” that simply need a little support.

Last year 37 students participated in the program. For 2015, Mayor LaRosiliere wants to grow the program to 100 students and has named the recruitment campaign The Plano 100. To date, participating businesses have sponsored or underwritten 56 internships, which already exceeds last year’s total.

Businesses, large and small, can participate in several ways – by sponsoring an intern at their workplace, underwriting an intern at a nonprofit or government agency, or becoming a program sponsor. Interns work 20 to 40 hours weekly at a minimum of $9 per hour. Businesses are requested to provide interns with meaningful work assignments and to give them a chance to shadow executives, observe company operations, get exposure to numerous careers, and have personal contact with managers and executives regarding future career prospects in the industry. Companies pay a $500 intern program fee for each intern that covers the various training and orientation sessions, the job fair and the luncheon ticket.

Businesses that are unable to host an intern at their workplace can underwrite an internship at a local nonprofit or governmental agency. Also, a few program sponsorship opportunities remain.

Capital One is founding sponsor of the program and is returning for a second year as the presenting sponsor. Hendrick Scholarship Foundation is the internship facilitator for the program, overseeing the training, the company-matching process and the monitoring of the interns through the summer.

“Capital One is pleased to return as the presenting sponsor for the Plano Mayor’s Summer Internship Program,” said Girish Bachani, Capital One’s Collin County market president and chief financial officer of Capital One’s Plano-based Financial Services Division. “The program packs a wallop in addressing and impacting workforce development and education of local high school students. At Capital One, we are proud of the results the program achieved in its inaugural year and look forward to helping the program grow in 2015 as local high school students gain skills, knowledge and experience that will serve them and our community well in the future.

Alliance Data is the Internship Prep sponsor; Atmos Energy is the Intern Orientation and Training Day sponsor, and Medical Center Plano isthe Internship Luncheon/Graduation sponsor. Program sponsors are Kroger, Oncor, Trammell Crow Company and Marriot at Legacy Town Center.

As of March 23, participating companies for 2015 are Alliance Data; AT&T; Atmos Energy; Bank of America; Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano; Brookdale; Capital One; Cigna; City of Plano; Collin College; Columbus Realty Partners, Ltd.; Ericsson; Granite Properties; Hyatt Place Plano; Intel Security; Kroger; Marriott at Legacy Town Center; Medical Center of Plano; Mercedes-Benz of Plano; NTT Data; Oncor; PepsiCo/Frito-Lay; Plano Chamber of Commerce; Plano ISD; Primrose School of South Plano; Regal Research & Manufacturing Company, Rovi Corporation; Shops at Willow Bend; Texas Health Presbyterian Plano; Texas Instruments; Toyota of Plano; Trammell Crow Company; UBS; and Williamsburg Custom Homes.

To qualify for the Plano Mayor’s Summer Internship Program, students must be at least 16 years of age, rising juniors and seniors at a Plano public high school, and able to work in the United States. Students must also have at least a 3.0 grade point average (at least 85%) and submit short essays to qualify for the program. Student applications for 2015 are closed.

All qualifying students must attend Internship Prep, a mandatory training day on Saturday, March 28, which will be held at Capital One’s Plano Conference Center. The training focuses on resume development and interviewing, business communication, professional dress and personal goal planning. Working with employers, the internship program then matches potential interns with companies, taking into consideration the company’s hiring preferences and student fit. Employers interview intern candidates at the program’s Job Fair slated for Friday, April 24, at the Plano Centre. Selected students receive a formal job offer in May. If chosen, students complete an additional day of Intern Training and Orientation on June 12, covering additional business “soft skills” and work readiness topics.

For more information, please go to planomayorsinterns.org. For questions about internships, contact internship@hendrickscholarship.org.