Students recognized for work in Waco ISD Facilities and Maintenance internship program
Quite often, high school students have a desire to work a part-time job but they do not know how to fit the added responsibility into their busy schedules. More than 85 percent of the district’s students are considered by the Texas Education Agency to be “economically disadvantaged” and therefore some students are faced with the sobering reality of working to help lessen the financial burden at home.
To help students ease into the workforce, the Waco ISD Facilities and Maintenance Department has developed an internship program for Waco ISD students who are interested in working a few hours after school or during the summer break.
“We know we have a lot of high poverty students in this district and we look for those students to fill positions in this internship program,” said Raul Gomez, Director of the Waco ISD Facilities and Maintenance Department.
It is a win-win situation he added, especially since the district has over three million square feet of space to keep up and running.
This summer, there were six students who spent much of their free time helping to get the facilities ready for a new school year.
“This internship program has had as many as 14 students but it is being reduced to 10,” Gomez said.
Gomez, who started the internship when he came to Waco ISD, reassured the students not to worry about the program.
“We will be opening up a painting internship program soon,” he said.
As part of the program, student interns are given a paid hourly wage to work in the custodial services, grounds keeping or maintenance areas. They each work side-by-side with a mentor from the Waco ISD Facilities and Maintenance Department who provides supervision, training and also serves as an encouraging role model. In addition to gainful employment, these interns receive valuable work experience for future job applications, not to mention the confidence and self esteem that working provides.
“A lot of these kids have left and returned to work for us permanently,” Gomez said.
Gomez acknowledged a career in facilities and maintenance is not always what their parents envision for them.
“We’re trying to make sure that these kids have another alternative than what is out in the street,” he said, adding that for $9 or more an hour, that is not to bad.