Daisy Garcia Montoya
For most students, summer break is a chance to get hands-on experience in their field through internships. With health restrictions and social distancing in place due to COVID-19, options are sparse.
To give youth more options, Mayor Quinton Lucas, along with the City Council, are working with Hire KC, the City’s signature youth based internship program, to move internships online. This way, youth can continue to gain professional experience and explore different career paths despite the challenges brought by COVID-19.
Through these virtual internships, students will be able to earn money by completing assigned works or projects and participating in skill-building learning experiences online. To make it accessible to everyone, most of these tasks can be completed via a mobile device.
Mayor Lucas said that the continuation of this program during COVID-19 was vital for youth securing opportunities working with public service agencies in the region. “When I was in high school, an internship program placed me with an internship in Mayor Kay Barnes’s office, which helped me discover my passion for public service,” said Mayor Lucas.
Former Hire KC intern Ashley Pleas, attributes the program with giving her the confidence to advance in her professional development. “Being able to interact with other like minded interns in a professional environment has done so much to give me a better mindset. The program taught me how to develop goals, skills, and networks that could further benefit me. Without it I cannot be sure that I would’ve been ready for the many opportunities I’ve been offered since I’ve interned,” said Pleas.
Aside from the City of KCMO, the DeBruce Foundation, which committed $50,000 and a $55,000 community grant from Bank of America, have directly helped Hire KC in expanding the number of virtual internships being offered.
Various city entities such as the Human Relations, Health and City Manager’s Debt Departments along with the Mayor and members of the City Council, will each have a Hire KC intern. In addition to the opportunities held within the city government entities, Mattie Rhodes, KC Young Audiences, Latino Arts Foundation, aSteam Village, are among the several nonprofits that will be offering virtual internships.
For more information on how to access and register for internships and experiences, summer programming or details on employer options, visit hirekc.org.