The paid internship is perhaps the most memorable and critical component in the NAF Academy experience for high school students. It is also one of the most rewarding, as it is the opportunity for students to apply, in a real world setting, what they�ve learned in their Academy classes in the preceding years. To ensure that the students� paid internship lives up to expectations, all stakeholders must invest an appropriate amount of time and resources.
A paid internship is not just a summer job. It is an extension of the Academy classroom instruction and curriculum, further developed and challenged in a business environment, supervised by business leaders in a real-world setting, resulting in a broad, relevant, enriching educational experience for the student. Done correctly, paid internships provide the context in which a student�s classroom learning is applied. But the paid internship doesn�t stop at just applying classroom skills in a work environment. It also exposes the student to a broad view of work experiences and situations, which could be expected if the student were to pursue a career in that field. And, the student is also exposed to a broad array of soft, workplace skills: teamwork, decorum, ethics, creativity, time management, ingenuity, problem-solving, comportment, and a solid understanding of the importance of excellent written and oral communications skills. This combination of benefits provides a valuable foundation for any career the student chooses to pursue in the future.
The Internship Toolkit has been designed as a resource to help students, school programs, and business leaders prepare for this most challenging and life-changing component of the NAF curriculum. Over the past several years, many organizations and individuals, both inside and outside the NAF network, have successfully implemented paid internship programs for high school students. This Toolkit serves to bring many of these resources to a single place where high school administrators, counselors, staff, students, parents, business and civic leaders and others may find answers to questions and hands-on solutions to challenges related to offering paid internships to high school students.The toolkit �provides assistance and suggestions for organizing and administering an effective internship program.��It represents a sharing of ideas and documents developed by the joint efforts of Academy programs across the United States.� The guidelines that follow are flexible and can be modified as necessary.