What Surprised Me About Mentoring a Future Focused Intern

What Surprised Me About Mentoring an X3 Intern

By Marvin Procter | Improve Group, President | May 23, 2019 

“When you have a hand in developing New Mexico’s future leaders, you feel your work matters deeply. That sense of purpose spread through our whole team.”
“When you have a hand in developing New Mexico’s future leaders, you feel your work matters deeply. That sense of purpose spread through our whole team.”
 
“When you have a hand in developing New Mexico’s future leaders, you feel your work matters deeply. That sense of purpose spread through our whole team.”

I used to think that internships were about teaching students certain technical skills to prepare them for a career. Now I see that it’s really about preparing them for life ahead—internships are opportunity to bring real change to our community.

Our first X3 internship experience surprised me. I was surprised by the impact it had on the students, and the impact on our team. I expected we’d offer the students a taste of working in a professional office, help them earn a little extra money, and teach a few new skills. And yes, we did that. But also, we found the internship experience deeply changed our students’ perception of what was possible. They saw new career opportunities for themselves.

One young woman, Liset, had worked in fast food for some time. She felt her current job was probably the best she could do. Her mind began to change after a couple of weeks as an intern with us. She left the fast food job, and focused her efforts on the internship. She was such a fast learner, and after her term at Improve Group, Future Focused Education hired her for a part time admin position. Sometime later I saw a photo of Liset dressed professionally, representing Future Focused at a networking event. She was photographed standing next to the Mayor of Albuquerque. As a mentor, that was an amazing feeling to see her so successful.

[Click play to watch Liset's success story.]

The experience made our team better leaders and coaches, too. It made us feel valued, and gave us a renewed appreciation for our company’s mission. When you have a hand in developing New Mexico’s future leaders, you feel your work matters deeply. That sense of purpose spread through our whole team.

I believe providing more internship opportunities for Albuquerque students will bring lasting change to our community. As students see how internships and education can vastly improve their future, graduation rates will improve. As we create more job openings and opportunities for these students, we’ll keep them from leaving our state and prevent the brain drain.

Many interns develop a new desire for post-high school training. For example, when Maria joined our first X3 cohort, she was just focused on finishing high school with no plans for further education. After her time at Improve Group, Maria decided to attend CNM to become a medical assistant. 

I’ll admit there are challenges. Most of us at Improve Group already had plenty of work to do—then we added the responsibility of providing meaningful work experience for a high school student. And not every student succeeds on their first try at an internship. Many face stiff challenges—finding childcare, babysitting their siblings, working a second job— which make it difficult for them to follow through on their commitment. However, even seeming failure is an important step in preparing them for life. I’ve seen the Future Focused Education team use these situations as coaching and teaching opportunities to position the student for future success.

I believe the business community is uniquely equipped to partner with Future Focused X3 to drive improvement in our economy and quality of life. Albuquerque is a wonderfully diverse community. We have stores of human capital in our schools who need someone to help them believe what’s possible with hard work and sound decision making.

The challenges facing our community are complex, and I don’t pretend to know all of the answers. But I am confident we can make real impact on students, families and the city at large by offering meaningful, rich experiences in the workplace.

Become a mentor:
Find out more about hosting an intern through the Future Focused X3 internship program here.

 
 
 

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