The Primary Indicator of Future Success

I recently read an article (referenced below) that spoke to the most important thing employers are looking for in college graduates.  The article stated that many students think good grades, extracurricular activities, and good references are going to put them at the top of the list, but while those are important, they’re not going to put you on the “most likely to succeed” list.


What is?  Experience.  As I’ve said to many students in classrooms before, there’s a difficult cycle of, “You have to have experience to get a job, but you can’t experience without a job.”  I completely understand that it’s frustrating and sometimes seems impossible, but it’s the reality of today’s competitive work world.  While that article was speaking to college students and graduates, it applies to high school students as well.  If you want to get ahead, you need to show people that you want it and that you’re worth hiring.  Show them that you have people skills, work skills, initiative, references from within the field (and not your grandpa or your best friend’s mom), and valuable experience in the field from a reputable business/company.


High school internships give you that edge on the rest of your peers.  You are showing colleges that you’re serious about the major (more likely to get in!) and future employers that you’re dedicated and determined (more likely to get hired!).


Keep working on those grades and extracurricular activities, but focus most on experience.  Volunteer, intern, and get your face and name known in the field, and you’ll be on your way to a successful career and future.





Original Article: 

Barizo, Dee.  The Number One Thing Employers are Looking for in New College Grads. 20 March 2010. Web.  April 2013.

Vail Needs Mentors!

The Vail School District has a fantastic program that gives seniors in high school the opportunity to participate in a year-long internship in the career areas of their choice.    We have students doing internships in a wide variety of fields including engineering, law enforcement, medicine, landscape architecture, athletic training, politics, journalism, and so much more.


During the course of the year, the students complete at least 124 hours of:


*hands-on experience in the field

*a project that directly and positively impacts the company for which they’re interning


It gives the students valuable job experience and a fantastic resume right out of high school, it gives their mentors a positive view of these motivated and hard-working young adults (not to mention some help on the job), and it creates a supportive and collaborative bridge between the school district and the community.


How can you help?  While most of our students for the current year are already placed with mentors, we would love to create a database of companies and mentors who are interested in working with our students in the future.  Although the program is relatively new, we have had enormous success with our graduated interns.  Many companies who took on interns last year have asked to have another this year, some asked their students to come back for a job as soon as they graduated, and still others hired the students right in the midst of their internships during their senior year!  Our students are incredible, our track record is fabulous, and we would love to have you as part of our team of sensational mentors.


For more information on the Vail School District Internship Program or to express interest in partnering with us, please visit the website at and/or e-mail Erica McLaughlin at  Thank you so much; we look forward to connecting with you!

Take Advantage of the Opportunities

CTE Internship Program


The CTE Internship provides students an opportunity to connect to a mentor in their field of interest, and earn credits while applying the skills they have learned in their CTE classes to the actual work place. The CTE Internship must be directly related to the CTE program where the credits were earned and offers both paid and unpaid work experience.

Who is Eligible?


Students who are classified as seniors (12th grade) and at least 16 years of age are eligible to participate. Students must have completed at least one Carnegie unit of Career Preparation instruction in a CTE program, directly related to the desired internship, prior to enrolling in a CTE Internship.

Responsibilities of CTE Connections Coordinator


  • Educate employers/supervisors/mentors related to student learning objectives
  • Identify, research, contact and develop safe industry-based student work sites
  • Develop each student’s training plan and training agreement
  • Assess student needs, progress, standards and satisfaction at work site


Responsibilities of Student


  • Documentation of prior CTE course (s) taken
  • Internship application on file
  • Completed and signed Internship Program Contract
  • Training plan
  • Training agreement
  • Complete a minimum of 62 hours per semester for a total of 124 hours for the year
  • Develop and complete internship project with mentor

Benefits of Internship

Students gain real life work experience, in their field of interest, while also earning credits. Students also have the opportunity to make connections in the field for future job opportunities and mentors.