Glendale City Council unanimously approved the master student placement agreement between Peoria Unified School District and the city of Glendale, giving high school students the opportunity to earn school credit while gaining field experience in local government.
This will provide a unique learning experience that, for the first time, students with interest in politics or a specific city department will be able to have first-hand experience within city council.
Shannon Rodriguez-Yaeggi serves as the human resources program manager for organizational development for the city of Glendale. She is in charge of all professional development opportunities for city staff.
Paradise Valley School District, which ranges from northeast Phoenix to north Scottsdale, already has a similar work program with the city of Glendale. When P.U.S.D. approached Rodriguez-Yaeggi about adding yet another professional academy program onto the school district’s list, the city could not wait to gain more participation in their organization.
According to Rodriguez-Yaeggi, the students’ jobs will depend on their areas of interest and correlate with their high school programs.
“They may end up in some of our administrative areas, learning kind of clerk and those types of skills. They could end up in our water services divisions, so working with the water services and those types of positions.
“Really, its kind of open, and the students make that determination. They come to the city looking for those particular areas,” Rodriguez-Yaeggi said.
Students in the program will be paired up with an employee that will act as their supervisor and mentor. Supervisors will work with the school to outline the program, and to ensure students get the skills they need, according to Rodriguez-Yaeggi.
Jim Brown, director of human resources and risk management, served as the staff contact for the council meeting. He feels passionately that both students and the involved organizations will highly benefit from this program.
Brown believes students will obtain professional skills from this internship, such as interviewing, research and communication skills.
“They’re going to learn skills whether it be through the parks and rec. program, civil engineering, it could be planning economic development, it could be any number of things, cause there are so many different opportunities in the things that we do,” Brown said.
No matter what post high school future these students have in mind, this program is designed to give both college bound students and workforce bound students the kinds of skills that employers will look for, according to Brown.
In addition to helping students, the program helps the organization as well.
“We are really building our future workforce. We are getting a chance to create a pipeline of potential employees that could come back later and say, ‘hey, I interned with the city of Glendale, and it was a really good experience. I see you have a job opening, and I really want to work here,’” Brown said.
The program is arranged to begin October 1st of this fall semester. The school department has yet to outline the course syllabus or determine many credits will be earned upon its completion of 120 required work hours. The district also is required to provide faculty that can offer students help with advising and scheduling needs.
Kathy Knecht serves as 1 of 5 governing board members for P.U.S.D. and is also a resident of Peoria, Arizona.
Knecht said, “Cities and school districts should work together for the youth in our communities. After all, young people are both students and citizens. The city/schools partnership creates tremendous opportunities to improve the future for everyone.”
image provided by Peoria Unified School District Webpage