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High school interns from nine West Virginia counties pitched capstone presentations last week to West Virginia business leaders as part of the WV Ready Internship Program.

This year’s program placed 25 interns from Wayne, Putnam, Berkeley, Harrison, Jefferson, Kanawha, Logan, Mingo and Wood counties at four West Virginia businesses on July 30.

Participating businesses included Appalachian Power in Kanawha County, Dominion Energy in Harrison County, Toyota West Virginia in Putnam County and West Virginia American Water Company in Kanawha County.

The initiative, funded by grants from the American Electric Power Foundation and Toyota West Virginia, provides internship experiences to help students become “WV Ready Graduates” equipped with knowledge and skills for success after high school, officials said in a news release.

“Investing in our next generation is critical to the future success of West Virginia,” said Srini Matam, president of Toyota West Virginia. “Toyota believes that every child deserves a chance at success and by investing in the WV Ready Internship program, we are proudly committed to helping prepare the state’s future workforce through education.”

The WV Ready Summer Internship program consisted of three main components, including job shadow training modules, mentoring and capstone projects. To strengthen career readiness, interns participated in four job shadow training modules from the four businesses that focused on a new WV Ready skill, the releases said.

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“At WV American Water, we believe that we are stronger when we come together,” said Robert Burton, president of West Virginia American Water. “This summer, we were able to showcase the importance of diversity inclusion in our job shadow training module.”

“Mentors can play an important role in supporting youth as they make critical academic and career decisions during the transition to adulthood,” said Chris Beam, president of Appalachian Power. “Our mentors were instrumental in exposing the interns to a variety of careers and giving the interns a peek into what it would be like to work for Appalachian Power in the hopes of deepening their commitment and active pursuit of career paths and transition into post-secondary endeavors.”

“During their capstone presentations, the interns showcased not only technical skills needed but also practical life skills like teamwork, professionalism and work ethic that they learned during their internship,” said Robert Blue, president of Dominion Energy. “At Dominion Energy, our interns worked to design a display for our company at the oil and gas history museum.”

The program is anticipated to be expanded in coming years to serve more of the state’s soon-to-be graduates, with the eventual goal being to expand statewide, according to the release.

To learn more about the program, visit EducationAlliance.org/WVReadyInternships.

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