High School Career Services and Employer Engagement
For young people, paid internships offer an opportunity to build critical skills that complement academic learning – skills like communication, collaboration, time management, and problem solving. Internships also allow a student to earn money, to imagine a future career, and to learn about the education and training necessary to get there. In 2021, PIC employers delivered all of the above for students, often by developing new ways to organize work and professional development in virtual settings.
In partnership with the City of Boston and the Boston Public Schools, the PIC coordinates summer employment and work-based learning in the private sector for Boston public high school students. The PIC’s Employer Engagement team supports companies and institutions in developing jobs and internships and organizing career exploration activities. The PIC’s school-based Career Specialists work in partnership with teachers and school leaders to prepare and match BPS high school students with jobs and internships.
In the summer of 2021, the PIC placed 1,165 students in paid jobs and internships with its private sector and community-based partners, a 15% increase over the summer of 2020. While the number of private sector internships remained below pre-pandemic summer levels, these opportunities still sent more than $2.5 million in student wages into the community in a time of great need. With funding from the state’s YouthWorks program and substantial funding from Bank of America and other foundations, the PIC placed 595 students with community-based organizations and public agencies, generating an additional $980,000 in student wages.
Most of the PIC’s private sector employers offered virtual work and learning programs, integrating work projects with professional skills training, mentoring, and career exploration activities. Throughout the pandemic, the city’s major hospitals maintained their summer job and internship levels. Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute were the top three employers overall. Vertex Pharmaceuticals, State Street Corporation, and John Hancock Financial Services followed, each hiring and supervising 30 or more students.
The summer of 2021 proved to be a much-needed success as measured by student and employer feedback. Overwhelmingly, employers reported that the students matched with their sites were highly skilled, engaged, and a good fit for their specific roles. Supervisory relationships between students and adult mentors crossed the boundaries of race, culture, and generation. (91% of those placed were students of color.) Several employers offered students school-year internships to continue in their roles.
During the school year, the PIC organized virtual skill-building bootcamps during school vacation weeks, offering hands-on experience in STEM fields such as cybersecurity, architecture, and data science. The PIC also collaborated with school leaders and teachers to place high school seniors in teaching assistant internships under a special program sponsored by the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Jean Colas, Related Beal
Jean Colas’ earliest memories of architecture and engineering involved playing at home, using shoeboxes to build miniature cities. Now a senior at the John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science, Jean looks to pursue his childhood dream and major in engineering or architecture in college.
Phyls Eutsay, Vertex Pharmaceuticals & Wayfair
Phyls Eutsay is passionate about helping the homeless in her South End community, but she doesn’t know how she will choose to give back in the future. A senior fashion major at the Boston Arts Academy, Phyls is interested in both art and science.
Bernie Lennon, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
Today’s Interns, Tomorrow’s Professionals—a longstanding partnership between the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and the Boston Private Industry Council—has provided more than 750 Boston Public Schools students with summer jobs over the past 26 years. The internship program gives students a broad range of career exploration opportunities, from finance and administration roles to positions as electricians.
Summer Internships 2021
With the COVID-19 pandemic moving into a new phase and taking lessons from the "Summer like no other" in 2020, Boston Public Schools (BPS) high school students returned to Boston’s summer jobs program, with most employers retaining virtual internships and others returning to in-person jobs.
Thanks to the PIC's partnerships with local employers, we placed BPS students in meaningful summer jobs in industries from tech and healthcare to finance and the arts, where they received valuable income-earning job experience and career exploration opportunities.
Thank you to all partners for their excellent work on this program and for the students of Boston. Their dedication to the summer jobs campaign is yet another step towards supporting our youth's career goals and the future of Boston’s workforce.