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Madison Press: Madison-Plains unveils senior internship program
February 6, 2017

Madison-Plains will be putting a few of its high school students to work in a new internship program rolling out next week.

Since last year, the district has been working on rolling out its “Eagle Internship Program” in which several students get to work and potentially get paid while earning high school credit.

“Our biggest goal at Plains is to provide opportunities for students,” said Dr. Matt Unger, the high school’s principal. “Within a rural district, we know it can take time to travel to some opportunities. We want to see what we can provide locally.”

Seniors applied to take part in the program and are then interviewed by the participating companies. Should they be hired, the companies’ evaluations of their work and behavior determine the final grade. It’s worth two high school credits.

Currently, 10 students have applied and about three or five will be accepted. Unger hopes to expand the program in the future.

Three companies agreed to look at Madison-Plains’ students: manufacturer Keihin Thermal in Mount Sterling, Madison Health and manufacturer Stanley Electric in London.

“We’re really excited for these because more often then not, people’s experience at our manufacturing facilities is something like a field trip,” said Unger. “Here, [students] will get an authentic view of how the working environments are.”

The program will take the students from different positions from the facility such as the factory line, the engineering department and the business office, with the goal of giving students a wide variety of experience.

Some of the positions are paid.

“They’ll receive orientation as an employee would,” said Unger. “All in all, they’ll be treated like entry level employees.”

One highlight is the potential for the internship to turn into a career or even a summer job.

Madison Health’s offerings are a little less hands-on due to regulations on who can work with patients.

“These opportunities are more shadowing based than work,” said Unger.

However, the principal said he was hoping to get a nursing certification class in the future so the internship could become hands-on and potentially paid, as well.

As students will have to work part-time at these businesses, the district is utilizing more flexible class schedules for participating students.

They can utilize a “blended” classroom, which uses online lessons that can be completed at home along with a more traditional face-to-face class time. They can also opt for an entirely virtual class, which is guided by Madison-Plains teachers.

“Because we offer blended and virtual classes, we’re able to provide these internships,” said Unger. “If they’re going to commit time to working at one of these companies, we need to be more flexible for the rest of their schedule.”

The program starts late next week. Unger will announce which students got the job.

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