Brent Baker, Peoria Pathways to Prosperity Coordinator for the Greater Peoria EDC, has been working to create internships for Peoria Public Schools students for most of his time at the GPEDC. Working in conjunction with local employers and the Peoria Mayor’s office, Baker is finally seeing his hard work become a reality.
The Peoria Mayor’s Internship Challenge aims to create a new model of workforce development in Greater Peoria by enabling employers to connect with Peoria Public Schools high school students, expanding talent pipelines while also providing invaluable educational and economic opportunity to Peoria Public Schools students.
This is a shift in thinking from the traditional internship model aimed at college students, however, across the nation, corporations and non-profits are rethinking their internship models, creating ‘micro-internships’, or short-term career exploration opportunities for high school students.
During a news conference on Monday, July 18, Mayor Ardis publicly challenged employers in the area to create internship opportunities for high school students. The goal is 50 students working in the internship program over the next year. Baker feels confident he will see that participation.
“Mayor Ardis’s leadership on this effort is absolutely key; with the creation and launch of the Peoria Mayor’s Internship Challenge we now have a unified voice between the City of Peoria and Peoria Public Schools encouraging our business community to create internship opportunities for students. In communities where these internship programs are thriving we find that they are employer-led, and the Peoria Mayor’s Internship Challenge marks our opportunity to help our businesses become leaders in this space. I’m looking forward to the work ahead!”
The Greater Peoria EDC is a 501(c) 6 non-profit organization that drives economic growth in a five county region through targeted business and talent development.