New internship program in Pulaski County pays students for work

'Win-win' for school, students as they fill open jobs

PULASKI COUNTY, Va. – Getting work experience before graduating from high school is the idea behind a new internship program in Pulaski County.

Jevon Prim calls his co-workers his work family.

"People think of lunch ladies as just their lunch ladies, but me getting to know them, they're basically the foundation of the school. They make sure we have cooked food, stuff to eat every day and it's an awesome experience for someone to try," said Prim, a Pulaski County High School senior who is spending his last semester interning in the school cafeteria.

Instead of going to a first-period class, he does everything from preparing meals to washing dishes. It's a new program where students get paid, while building their resume.

"Last year, the Virginia Department of Education really pushed for K-12 schools to find work-based learning experiences for students. So we're putting a lot more attention and resources towards that," said Megan Atkinson, Pulaski County career and technical education director.

Atkinson adds they hope to expand what they offer when there are open jobs.

"If we can train a student with specific workplace skills to potentially fill those jobs when they graduate it's a win-win situation," said Atkinson.

"I think it's wonderful because this is a way that the students are going to learn what working is about and it's going to give them the experience to be able to step up and step into a place because it teaches them responsibilities," said Sheila Stodder, school nutrition manager.

Prim feels appreciated and plans to pursue a career in catering.

"I've had a hard life and everyone's always downing me on stuff I can do, so I just want to be able to prove to people I know how to work, I can work and when I do something I do it the best I can," said Prim, who recommends the internship to other students.

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