CIP: Trying Out the Real World

Students at Montclair High School step into the real world before they even receive their diploma by participating in the CIP (Career Internship Program).

CIP (Career Internship Program) lets Montclair High School seniors explore career opportunities in their field of interest.

Group Of Female High School Students Talking By Lockers
© Monkey Business Images | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Senior students at Montclair High School are given the opportunity to have a different kind of work experience the last four weeks of their high school career. The Career Internship Program (CIP) at Montclair High School lets senior students explore an area of work they are interested in through internships with local businesses. Students must search for internships on their own and propose their work site and plan to MHS. This is an unpaid internship, done for a minimum of twenty hours per week.

In an interview with Willieneil French, the new Director of Guidance at Montclair High School, he showed great enthusiasm about the CIP program and even spoke about expanding it. “It gives students the opportunity to explore what careers they think they like and they are not stuck in it. Kids spend four or five weeks seeing if they like the job, asking themselves if it reallys works for them.”

French sees CIP being very beneficial to students and would like to see it expanded to very real careers such as banking, finance and advertising firms. He added that expanding these internships farther than Montclair would be great as well. French wants students to take away life skills from the CIP program, “I want them to learn how life really functions. You do not get a lot of second chances to get it right. I want them to function as adults and to look at it as, this is what I will potentially be doing for the next 20, 30, 40 years of my life. I want them to learn how to be a real working citizen.”

This year, Studio 042 has four MHS students interning for them. Rebecca Brownsword, Maddy Firkser, Caitlin Kennedy, and Natalie Toth each play a distinct role in creating the Senior Spotlight articles for the Montclair Dispatch. Studio 042 is a great supporter of the CIP program and is enthusiastic about instructing students and giving them a taste of what it is like to work at a business.

Along with four weeks working out outside of MHS, students come in once a week for a seminar in which teachers or local workers come in to speak to the CIP students about things they will experience in the transition into college. French is greatly in favor of this and finds it significant to have these seminars.

It is a privilege for students to take part in the CIP program, therefore those who wish to take part in it must have certain grades, a specific number of absences, etc. “I think we can even be a little more strict with the prerequisites for students who want to take part in CIP. We are sending out are best, we want them to be a great representation of us as a school and community.”

The CIP program is strictly for seniors during their last month of high school, considerably right at the beginning of their transition into college. French sees this as an important time for students to be a part of the program, during this transition out of high school. “It gives students the chance to ask questions in their field of interest. It allows you to be around others. You also get to see that everyone’s story is different and no one had a clear cut path to where they are” (French).

French summed up CIP in that it is a great opportunity for students to begin life. The purpose of the program is for them to find out what they like and what they are good at.

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