Twenty students choose one of two tracks in six-week program
Track A students are
focusing on digital marketing skills, while Track B students are
concentrating on computer software development.
Internship program ties in with new DMACC Perry VanKirk Center Computer Languages Academy, which opens this fall.
Students said participating in three mandatory Zoom meetings each week have been extremely beneficial.
Perry VanKirk Center Director Eddie Diaz said the paid summer
internships are allowing incoming DMACC students to gain skills in
In collaboration with Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds' Future Ready Iowa Program and the Evelyn K. Davis Center for Working Families, the DMACC Perry VanKirk Career Academy launched a new Summer 2020 Internship Program in mid-June. All interns in the program will be attending DMACC in the fall to study high-demand career fields, including nursing, marketing, computer languages, dental hygiene and more.
State of Iowa appropriated $250,000 in funds to support the Future
Ready Iowa Summer Youth Intern Program grant, a funding opportunity to
place youth who are at risk of not graduating from high school in
internships primarily in high-demand career fields.
The DMACC VanKirk Academy internship started with 20 students on two work tracks:
Track A: Students were trained in digital marketing skills through the DMACC Continuing Education Department's Online Digital Marketing Training.
Track B: Students in the computer language track developed skills in software development through a partnership with Delta V Code School.
Perry VanKirk Center Director Eddie Diaz said students from both tracks
were partnered with companies and non-profits to implement their skills
as the summer progressed, and worked with staff who helped them
increase their skills in project management and professional work place
Diaz said the COVID-19 pandemic presented some
significant challenges, but ultimately led to an innovative internship
experience that focused on developing skills that are widely needed.
are proud that our summer internship program was able to pivot toward
an online internship within a matter of weeks," Diaz said. “This allowed
students to gain skills in high-demand fields, including digital
marketing and software development, while earning money that they can
use towards their pursuit of a college degree at DMACC."
Davis of Perry is one of the DMACC Perry VanKirk Center summer interns
taking the Track B route for coders. He graduated from Perry High School
and said he plans to enroll in the Computer Languages Academy at DMACC
this fall after completing his 20-hour per week paid internship.
DMACC Perry VanKirk Center is starting a new Computer Languages Academy
in the fall in which students will take 36 credits in a one-year diploma
program leading to high-demand, high-paying jobs in the software
According to Diaz, once students complete the
Perry program, select graduates will participate in a four-month
commercial software development training program at the new Rural Forge
in Jefferson. That company, which is attempting to bring Silicon
Valley-type high-tech jobs to rural Iowa, will help the future workforce
further develop their programming skills. Diaz said at the conclusion
of the four months, the young professionals may be invited to be
interviewed for jobs having a $50,000 to $60,000 starting pay, with
salaries potentially growing to six figures quickly in the high-demand,
Davis said participating in three mandatory
weekly Zoom meetings, each lasting approximately 90 minutes, has been
extremely beneficial for the internship program participants. He said
the Monday Zoom class is a project management class, while the Tuesday
meeting is a soft skills class focusing on professionalism,
communication and dealing with employers. The Thursday Zoom class for
the Track B students is a coding class, while the Track A students have a
Davis said these classes prepare the students for moving into the real world.
the ability to work with a client is amazing because not only will it
give us references for future jobs, but it will also allow us to see how
a relationship between an employee and a third party, like other
clients, evolves over time and how working for and with them would play
out in a real world," Davis said.
Fellow Perry High School
graduate Alexa Zarate of Perry is also a summer intern, but she is
taking Track A. As part of her internship, she is working with White
Rock Conservancy in Coon Rapids and creating four to six ads for the
5,500-acre non-profit land trust to promote their housing
Zarate said she plans to attend the DMACC Ankeny
Campus in the fall, majoring in Dental Assisting and also plans to take
classes at the Perry VanKirk Center.
“My major is not marketing
or project management but going through this internship has taught me
that I'm capable of more than I think I am and to think outside of the
box, even when it's outside of your comfort zone," Zarate said.
Rocking W Services
Managing Director Rob Wiley is one of the instructors in the six-week
program. The Perry-based consulting firm provides professional services
and IT support to state and federal government agencies as well as the
private sector. He said project management skills can benefit students
throughout their academic studies, personal lives and in the workplace.
students are experiencing the challenges of working in virtual teams
and are learning how to navigate through an assortment of issues within
each of the projects," Wiley said.
The pilot program ends Aug. 14.
Summer Youth Intern Program was created under the Future Ready Iowa Act
as a way to develop Iowa's skilled workforce. The initiative aims to
ensure 70 percent of Iowans in the workforce, ages 25-64, have education
and training beyond high school by the year 2025. For more information
about Future Ready Iowa, visit www.FutureReadyIowa.gov.
For more information, contact: Eddie Diaz, (515) 428-8120, firstname.lastname@example.org