It was an unseasonably warm day in May when the GP Pathways team headed to the City of Peoria Information Systems Department to meet with their team, which has just hosted their latest intern. The team, which is a small but mighty group, shared their experiences, along with their intern, Aiden Garcia, a senior at Richwoods High School.
Sam Rivera, Chief Information Officer for the City of Peoria, shared with us that Aiden has been a great addition to their team. “I think it adds real value… by showing residents what a real IT department looks like. [Our previous intern] wanted to go to college for IT and I think being here really helped her learn firsthand.”
Aiden reported that his experience with the team was very educational. He shared that it was his first time working with computer code. “I get paid ten dollars an hour just to learn how to code. Some people pay to learn how to code.” This was a great opportunity for Aiden, who had never had any coding experience in the classroom. In addition to learning about computer information systems, the experience gave Aiden opportunities to visit some of the city government’s many departments. “I went to a fire station… it was really cool to see that firsthand. It was definitely a new experience.”
Sam shared his advice for creating successful internships. “Money helps. Getting paid just ten dollars an hour, it helps to attract students and having that money helps them later on.” While Aiden agreed that the money was nice, he shared that the best compensation was the skills he learned. “I learned about a lot that I never had experience with before, and that [new knowledge] really changed my perspective on some aspects of this field.”
Sam talked about the importance of giving back to the residents of the City of Peoria, as a government agency. “It’s always been a good training ground for us, to raise up the next generation.” He feels that it is his responsibility to help train the next generation of workers. “It’s up to us, those of us who have been in the job market for a long time, to give back. As far as I’m concerned, we’ll always [bring in an intern].”