Helping students find their dream jobs

August 19, 2008 2:41:26 PM PDT
Finding the right internship can make a huge difference for students trying to find their dream jobs when they finish school. A unique program in New York is helping students get valuable experience in the workforce.

Crystal Dilonez landed a paid, summer internship at the Mancini-Duffy Architecture and Design Firm, working in the design library.

"First, it looks really good on your college application, as everyone always says; second, it actually gives you a chance to go out into the business world," said Dilonez.

She is one of 140 New York City high school seniors and recent graduates in the new program called 'Pencil Fellows'. They get six weeks of full time summer jobs at businesses or not-for-profit agencies.

"Opportunity is something that most of us just take for granted, and for some of these students, for many of them, the summer experience will be just life-changing for them," said Gayle Villani, V.P. of 'Pencil Follows.'

Research shows that internships lead to better student achievement, higher graduation rates and better jobs, and the Pencil Fellows program offers its students extra support.

At a working breakfast for the pencil fellows, successful business people shared their advice.

"If you can, start your own business. You're gonna be comfortable, you're gonna be calling your own shots," said the leader.

All of the interns qualify by completing a year-long program known as Virtual Enterprises, held at 50 high schools in the city.

Victor Correa is a Pencil Fellow, interning at a not-for-profit health agency.

"It makes me more mature now. It makes me know what I want in life. It makes me know what real life is like what a real job is like," said Correra.

The companies also benefit. Eyewitness News asked Anthony Schirripa, chairman of Mancini-Duffy Architecture and Design, what his company gains.

"Just the satisfaction of seeing kids learn something, perhaps interest them in the fields of architecture and interior design, and help mold their careers a bit," he said.

There are plans to double student placements for next year.

To learn more about this program, go to

STORY BY: Eyewitness News Education reporter Art McFarland

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