Business Internship Program Takes Off


Avery Reeder, Staff Reporter

Salida High School has introduced a new Business Internship program offered through Colorado Mountain College (CMC). This class provides an opportunity for juniors and seniors to combine traditional classroom learning with work based experiences. Fred Maxwell runs the program. Maxwell described several reasons he is excited by the new experiences this program provides students. 

“The main curriculum that this class entails is work based learning, so experiential education. Getting students out of the classroom and into a work related environment so they learn through working,” stated Maxwell.

This program is a pilot program for a cutting edge curriculum that is being developed by the state of Colorado. This class includes eighty five contact hours at a student’s job site and involvement in a career day, which is described as half a day out of school where students create resumes, complete mock interviews and participate in professional paneling interviews. On Mondays students attend class where they discuss their employment status.

“Students are making decisions about their college career based on a lack of experience in that field. […] Public school you can only teach so many classes, but what they really need is experience doing the things they want to do,” says Maxwell.

Maxwell feels that by allowing students to try their different interests regarding their career path it will not only reduce the times they switch their college major but it will also reduce the uncertainty and unhappiness of their career. Maxwell offers many examples of students and their struggles with choosing a path. He hopes this class will provide more clarity and satisfaction when students are choosing their future career paths. 

“CMC offers a full gamut of classes. You have traditional core classes which are like English, or science, or math, that students can take to satisfy their core requirements before they go to college. Guaranteed transfer credits. This (Business Internship class) is based much more on experience. The target audience for this class is our concurrent enrollment students at Salida High School. We want to get them time at a workplace here at local businesses,” explained Maxwell.

Maxwell also discussed the Pathways model that is being developed at CMC. This model allows students to focus on a career path that hopefully gives them direction when they graduate. For example, if a student wants to become a firefighter and they know that, Maxwell works to get them an opportunity to spend time with the local fire department. This allows the student the opportunity to determine if they would enjoy that career or not. 

“I think this is the pinnacle of preparation for young people. I believe in work based learning with all my heart,” Maxwell said.

He wants students to be able to explore career paths before fully committing themselves to anything. It is a low stakes way for students to be able to explore career fields they are interested in. 

Maxwell explained that his vision for the future of the class is for it to become more widely known in the community, provide more diverse job opportunities for students and get more students involved so that we can make the program more robust. These internships are an excellent real life preparation for future careers. Students learn how to be young professionals working with industries outside the classroom. Not only do they learn from the experience itself but from the other professionals that they are working with.

“This is open to all juniors and seniors. Any freshman or sophomore family that has any questions about the internship program or any business that wants to get involved […] please come talk to me,” Maxwell said.. 

This program is a great opportunity for the students in the community. This class shows one of the numerous benefits of this shared venture between CMC and SHS. Maxwell hopes that students benefit from this class and receive positive takeaways from it. He is also excited to see how the class grows and changes as time goes on.