Academies strive to place students in internships

Published on Tuesday, 16 January 2018 16:25
Written by Erica Schmitt

Staff Writer

NEWINGTON - Local teens are in need of unpaid internships and have their eyes set on local businesses.

The 143 students enrolled in Newington High School’s Career Academies are seeking work experience before taking the next steps into the world.

“We want to connect them with experiences and professionals so they can learn what is required of them to land a job in their field and maintain a career there,” said Career Academy counselor Rachel Arnett, who is connecting students with the right sites to fit their interests and needs.

Three separate academies teach Culinary/Hospitality, Finance/Business Management and IT/Digital Innovation. Two unofficial academies that still require staff funding are Aerospace Engineering and Biomedical Sciences. Students with an interest in these particular fields have the opportunity to attend speaking engagements and other events when available.

Senior Gynno Bacaoco wants to be a biomedical engineer, so he signed up for the latter two. In the fall he and fellow students took a field trip to CNC Master Cam, a small engineering company in Tolland.

“It allowed me access to people in the field,” Bacaoco said. “It’s an opportunity a lot of schools wouldn’t get.”

This coming spring he’s hoping to land an internship with a local physical therapist.

“Most times you have to go out and look for internships, but the counselors here help facilitate the process,” he pointed out.

Internships just became a requirement of academy students in their junior or senior years. Several companies in the area have already welcomed student-interns, according to Arnett.

“Our goal is to place students ages 16 and up with professionals they can observe and work with to gain a greater understanding of what can be expected of them,” she said.

Once a match is made, the student goes on a preliminary job shadow. Internship sites must operate out of an office, not a home, and must have an onsite supervisor who is willing to work directly with the student.

“If you can commit to show and teach the student, then the more rewarding it will be,” Arnett said. “All of our academy students are wonderful and unique and bring a lot to the table.”

They will be arriving with some knowledge as well, since they’ve taken preparatory course work in their desired field.

There are currently 19 culinary students, 36 finance students and 38 IT students along with 16 taking part in aerospace activities and another 39 in biomedical programming.

A small group attended a recent employer panel led by Newington’s own PCX Aerostructures. Senior manufacturing engineer Chris Aldrich and Vice President of Human Resources Craig Sullivan talked to students about working in the field.

“This is a hot industry right now,” Sullivan said. “There are a lot of companies like ours that are going to be hiring.”

Aldrich pointed out that the Career Academies put students ahead of the game.

“If you’ve had that STEM training, it’s certainly going to give you an advantage over other people who haven’t had the opportunity,” he explained.

Businesses interested in taking on an intern should contact Rachel Arnett at 860-666-5611, ext. 1263, or

Erica Schmitt can be reached at 860-801-5097, or

Posted in Newington Town Crier, Newington News on Tuesday, 16 January 2018 16:25. Updated: Tuesday, 16 January 2018 16:28.