Paying it forward with an internship

We want dedicated teachers and we want graduates to be prepared with the skills they need to succeed in business. Here’s your opportunity, then, to help a dedicated teacher prepare those very students for your industry!

At our recent business expo, I was pleased to meet two business students from La Follette High School whom IB had comped for all activities throughout the day. We enjoyed hosting delightful young people with an interest and enthusiasm for area business. Darrin Graham, La Follette business and marketing educator (and liaison for the student credit union and the Lancer Zoo School Store), had asked for the passes. He’s fully immersed in the department, and I’ve interviewed him about his progressive business programming for our [past] radio program. After that initial meeting, I accepted a La Follette student in an internship at IB.

Now, Darrin wants to extend the internship opportunity, and I hope you consider it for your business and/or forward this info to other businesses to help us get the word out!

The La Follette Career Internship program is designed for upperclassmen (juniors and seniors) who have expressed interest in pursuing a specific career. Placements include positions in accounting, finance, marketing, sports marketing, retail marketing, administration, graphic arts, information technology, engineering, nursing, veterinary medicine, social work, construction, police science, and journalism, with other possibilities also considered.

The internship experience encourages La Follette students to gain invaluable, practical, and career-related work experience by applying classroom learning to an on-the-job setting. Students also earn high school credit and, in most cases, an hourly wage – though unpaid internships also exist. In addition, students are eligible to apply for one of three Career Internship scholarships, which are exclusive to La Follette Career Internship students. There is one $4,000 and two $2,000 scholarships awarded annually.

The classroom component covers general work-related topics such as (but not limited to) cover letters, résumés, soft skill development, networking, goal setting, conflict resolution, and communication and leadership skills. Interns are expected to attend class daily and to meet and/or exceed employer job performance expectations. Additionally, all Career Internship students have early release (2 or 2:45) from the normal school day in order to work at their placement site.

Not all students who apply for the internship class are accepted because every placed intern must meet La Follette’s pre-placement requirements:

  • 2.5 GPA (minimum) and junior/senior class status
  • Formal review of school attendance, tardy records, and school behavior
  • Three letters of recommendations (staff/faculty)
  • Interview with a business/marketing teacher
  • Interview with potential employer
  • Reliable transportation (student provided)

Darrin is now in the process of identifying placements for upcoming classes. Thanks for considering this opportunity for your business. If you have any additional questions or can consider an intern at your business, contact Darrin Graham at 608-204-3570 or via email at It’s a great way to pay it forward for your industry, your business, and, frankly, there’s a lot of personal satisfaction in it, too.

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