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2-26-24 — Internships Help Guide Dozens of High School Students

Feb. 26, 2024 ~ This year, the Olathe Advanced Technical Center (OATC) has 74 students with internships across 33 different organizations. These internships provide hands-on experience outside of school, build confidence and skills, help students decide if they like a particular career, and sometimes lead to job offers!

“This is a great connection for the kids to see what they want to do,” OATC Administrator Amy Stolz said. “They may say, ‘I’ve been doing this for a year and a half. Is this where I see myself or is this a great experience that helped me decide I want to do something else?’ There is beauty in all of that.”

five high school students standing in front of OATC bannerThe OATC has always had an internship component for second-semester seniors. Students can take time out of their day getting hands-on experience at their internships, many of which are paid, when they aren’t at school. Every Thursday, Amy Nail and Emily Schmidt, career pathways facilitators for Career and Technical Education (CTE), host a work-based learning workshop for the interns. They use it as a space to work together and find ways to improve their portfolios.

“We’ve never done it before where we have a group of kids from different programs meet in a group setting,” Nail said. “The kids know who's in their program, but they don't necessarily know everyone outside of that program, and it's been fun hearing them share all the stuff that they're doing together.”

The OATC has many host partners that provide opportunities for students to grow in their careers, including Olathe Health, Baxter Auto, the City of Olathe, Garmin and more. Lizbeth Garcia-Crisanto, a senior at Olathe North High School, landed an internship at Olathe Health.

“A lot of the time spent at the OATC, we do a lot of hands-on stuff, so it wasn’t as hard going into my internship as I thought it would be,” Garcia-Crisanto said. “You have the opportunity to grow out of your shell and network and do things that you don’t usually do at your regular high school.”

“I think one of the biggest things students are learning is how to advocate appropriately for themselves,” Nail said. “They can learn the skills and all that in the classroom, but as far as putting it all together, they need to be out in the workforce.” 

February is CTE Month, celebrating the accomplishments and importance of our students in career and technical education. Olathe Public Schools offers 22 career pathway options for student success in today’s highly skilled workforce. Read more about what CTE has to offer.

(Photo: Seniors participating in internships include Ruben Barbon De La Paz, Olathe West High School; Abbie Linn, Olathe East High School; Lizbeth Garcia-Crisanto, Olathe North High School; Gabriella Chicas, Olathe North; and Luke Sorrels, Olathe North.)