Earlier this summer, KIPP DC piloted the Career Fellows Program to increase exposure to career-related opportunities for students and alumni. The first cohort included 19 students who participated in an extensive interview matching day that aligned students’ career interests and skills with internships with one of five employer partners: LGC Security, PMM Companies, the Metropolitan Police Department, MCN Build, and Dynamic Network Solutions.
“The program evolved from conversations the KIPP Through College & Career team would have about exposing students to career pathways,” said director of college counseling and career innovation Julia Hellmich. “We did a lot of research around high-interest career pathways and collaborated with partners who do this work and have a vested interest in the success of our students. From there, we were able to create this meaningful summer experience for students.”
Jackie Mosley is a KIPP DC alumnus and interned with MCN Build. She remarked on how much the summer helped improve her soft skills as envisions herself in the workplace. “At school, I’m used to pretty much working by myself, and this internship gave me a lot of experience working in a team setting. I learned a lot about professionalism and how to interact in the workplace. I also was able to grow my social skills by meeting new people and making connections.”
Outside of the students’ internships, they also participated in a one-week career professional development course where they engaged with career panels, interview practice, and resume-building. Students even finished the summer fellowship CPR and AED certified to make them immediately more marketable to future employers.
“My favorite part of the summer was being with my team,” remarked Jaimese Mack, senior at KIPP DC College Preparatory on her internship with the Capital Teaching Residency. “I loved attending the meetings, learning about the program, even the birthday celebrations. They made me feel like family and enjoyed coming to work each day.”
The fellowship concluded with a celebration where families, employers, and guests came to support each student as they shared their takeaways from their internships, future career interest and received a diploma recognizing their work throughout the summer. “It was really great to see the culture they created as a cohort and the pride they took in their work,” said Julia. “The students all came from different places and are different ages, but came together to build this sense of pride and ownership in this experience.”