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Business Management students build skills over the summer with CCPL internship program

PSH senior Emily Imars

August 26, 2019



Summer break for high school students usually consists of sleeping in, hanging out with friends, working a part-time job and attending practice for a sport, club or band. 


For a group of incoming seniors from Parma City School District’s Business Management Career and Technical Education program, summer was spent learning new skills and refining the ones they already learned thanks to the Cuyahoga County Public Library’s (CCPL) Internship Program.


The new internship program was funded by a private donor and focused on building professional skills in youth, paired with technology-related programming offered by the library.


The grant was designed to focus on Parma Senior High School students, creating a unique opportunity in the community where our library system is headquartered, explained Rebecca Ranallo, Information and Technology Literacy Manager for CCPL.


There were nine students who participated in the paid internship program, for about 18 hours a week at both the Parma and Snow Branch libraries. Four students were very successful throughout the entirety of the program, shared Mary Ellen Swinger, Business Management Teacher at Parma Senior High School.


“The program was Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for about eight weeks and students worked in a lab setting training in Microsoft Office products,” Swinger shared. “The focus was on Microsoft Excel because many of my students already had certifications in Word and some in PowerPoint. The goal in the end was to gain Microsoft Excel Certification.”


Ranallo added that students also participated in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics) opportunities, career-focused sessions, youth camps, and assisted in technology training education classes for adults.


Along with these technical skills, interns gained practical skills like obtaining a work permit, setting up direct deposit and a bank account, and time management skills.


Emily Imars, a senior at Parma who participated in the program, said her experience in the internship program was amazing. She especially enjoyed being able to learn different skills, participate in library events and connect with not only library staff but also the community.


“I wanted to participate in this summer internship because Mrs. Swinger said she believed it would be an awesome opportunity for me and others who were juniors going into their senior year,” she expressed. “I also thought it would be interesting and a great opportunity, because if I did not do this through school, I would have never gotten the opportunity to have an internship at the library like this.”


At first Imars thought it would be only focused on Microsoft Office, but she was really happy to have a well-rounded experience.


“I gained skills doing the IC3 Digital Literacy Certification which is a certification made up of three different tests about different computer skills and getting a better understanding of different parts of the internet,” she added. “I found this very useful and think everybody should know these different aspects especially with all the technology we are surrounded by these days. I did this as an independent study because the others in the internship were studying for the Excel certification, and I already had all of the Microsoft certifications.”


“By the middle of the internship, everyone knew Emily and knew that if they had a project, she was the one to look for,” Ranallo shared about Imars. “She took full advantage of the opportunity, and her tenacity meant that she finished the internship with the most robust experience of any of the students.”


Both Swinger and Ranallo felt the program was a success and look forward to continuing the partnership for years to come. There are plans at both CCPL and PCSD to see what worked and what might need some refinement to make the program even better.


“I loved this opportunity for my kids,” Swinger expressed. “While the students are doing college applications, they are going to be able to say that they participated in a paid internship with the Cuyahoga County Public Library and say what they did. They also gained skills they need for success after high school.”


PHOTO CAPTION: Emily Imars, a senior at Parma Senior High School, worked on her IC3 (Internet Core Competency Certification)certification this summer. IC3 is a benchmark test for computer literacy, including software, hardware networks and the internet.