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Creek students learn about internships, shadowing

LEARNING — Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce President Tricia Maple-Damewood addressed Indian Creek High School students about internships and job shadowing programs available through the organization to help them map out their future careers. -- Contributed

WINTERSVILLE — Students at Indian Creek High School learned about opportunities available to them as they map out their future careers.

Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce President Tricia Maple-Damewood addressed an estimated 400 sophomores through seniors to get the word out about chamber programs which may help them get a foot in the door. She shared a brief synopsis of the chamber’s history, saying it began in 1908 as the Steubenville Businessmen’s Association and is a no-profit organization with 500 members from businesses and groups to schools and individuals.

“We are the voice of the local business community,” she explained. “We have a newsletter that reaches 800 people and we are a resource and a tool for local businesses to use in a long list that the businesses need.”

She said the internship program is open to high school sophomores to college students and allows them to donate a small amount of time to assist with projects such as “Ohio Valley Shop Where I Live.”

“I need help setting businesses up on that platform. Students connect with businesses, churches, organizations and set up a website on ‘Shop Where I Live,'” she said.

Maple-Damewood noted that the students’ may include their volunteerism on resumes to indicate their community mindedness and initiative to help businesses during and post-COVID. She continued that it was an unpaid internship but could be done remotely while other work ranges from handling mailings to updating member phone numbers, but there were chances to earn paid projects through a job board.

She said the job shadowing program gives teens a closer look at professions by meeting representatives and learning about the field.

“You can learn about a typical day and decide what you want to do,” she said, adding that she can connect interested students to sites such as Trinity Health System and Timet Corp. “The chamber internship lets you connect with businesses, churches and nonprofits. It lets you add us to your resume and it lets you talk to people who are already doing something you are thinking about doing as a career. It’s a great connection tool.”

Meanwhile, she discussed the importance of having soft skills such as following up with contacts and following through with tasks, saying it could impress potential employers. She also provided brief applications and fliers with more details on the internship program and said applicants under age 18 require their parent’s signature to take part.

Maple-Damewood was invited by ICHS teacher Julie Robinson, who plans to host a career fair in November and a similar assembly this winter. Robinson said the info session highlights what the community has to offer and she hopes to include a student intern at the next gathering.

“It was an informational meeting regarding opportunities in job shadowing and internships,” Robinson said. “It was meant to educate them on what job shadowing and internships are and where and how to get involved in Jefferson County. Students need to explore their career interests outside of school.”

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