While many high schoolers are flipping burgers this summer, some two dozen kids from the San Antonio ISD are participated in a first-of-its-kindpaid internship program sponsored by the local tech security start-up Jungle Disk, News Radio 1200 WOAI's Michael Board reports.
The interns will gain job experience in marketing and cybersecurity, while also benefitting from daily mentoring and practicing the marketable skills of team collaboration and public speaking. The interns also will learn about the responsibility that comes with earning a paycheck – including banking, saving and filing taxes.
Jungle Disk co-founder and CEO Bret Piatt says programs like this are necessary to attract skilled talent as the firm grows.
"With the economy staying strong here, there are lot of opportunities," Piatt said. "If tech is not top of mind, these kids are going to select something else."
The program will be tought at Highlands High School, because Piatt says many students can't make it to the firm's downtown offices, and, in tech, you can work from anywhere.
"If we are not making everyone in San Antonio aware that there are tech jobs here, they are going to pick other careers."
Most of the interns are high school seniors or recent graduates of Highlands High School, from the engineering magnet or business career pathways. Three of the interns are from neighboring Edison and Jefferson high schools who are interested in IT and robotics.
The program was put together with the help of southeast side Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran.
District 3 is excited to be part of a pioneering partnership with Jungle Disk, SAISD and SA Works to offer South Side high school students with real-world experience, working side-by-side with cybersecurity analysts,”Viagran said. “Our global community relies on digital technology to conduct business and these paid internships will allow our youth to gain a better understanding of complex processes that affect our economy and daily lives. This collaborative initiative is a chance to provide students in San Antonio access to valuable opportunities in this growing industry.”
Local tech firms say the biggest challenge to start ups and growing companies in San Antonio is finding enough skilled workers as the firms ramp up. This is one of several unique programs designed to create that talent, and to insure that young people which an eye toward tech know there are fulfilling, well paid opportunities right in their home town.