SOUTH OGDEN -- Students, business leaders and educators in Weber School District recently celebrated the success of the district's work-based learning program.
About 110 juniors and seniors participated in the program -- which helps students get a leg up by doing an internship in the field of their desired profession -- during the last school quarter.
Those participating in the program had a luncheon at the district offices to share the success of some of the students.
Work-based learning director Jeff Meyer said that when the luncheon was first started several years ago, it was set up to help recruit businesses to get involved with the district's program. Now, the program is so successful, the district uses the lunch as more of a celebration.
"We have enough businesses now ... we don't have enough students for the businesses," Meyer said.
It's a nice problem to have. The program was started at Fremont High School several years ago and was successful enough that the district decided to include all four high schools -- Bonneville, Weber, Fremont and Roy.
Demi Ybarra graduated from Weber High School just last year but already has a job in the profession she loves. Thanks to her internship with the EKG department at McKay-Dee Hospital, Ybarra earned her EKG certification and has a job as an EKG tech while she attends Weber State University.
Ybarra knew during her junior year that she wanted to work in the medical field. Her school counselor got her in touch with Meyer, who in turn got her in touch with the right people at McKay-Dee.
"It solidified my interest in the medical field, and I was comfortable with the people there. They were my friends before I even started the job," she told the packed room at the luncheon.
Meyer said Ybarra's internship moved her from being No. 300 on the list for post-high school employment to No. 2.
Roy Police Chief Greg Whinham was at the luncheon and said he has really enjoyed being involved with the program through the district. A lot of students are interested in a career in criminal justice, and being able to shadow someone in the police department has been an invaluable experience for many. The program also served an extra purpose for Whinham.
"I needed a little help on how to do a PowerPoint and use some computer programs. I got an intern that could help me, and it made a huge difference," Whinham said.
He spoke with his intern at the luncheon and thanked her for her help. He also agreed to write a letter of recommendation for some scholarship applications.
Meyer said it's rewarding for him to watch the growth of the students through the internship program. Many students spoke at the luncheon -- all from different fields -- some engineering, others banking and some doing public relations-type work.
"Parents, you've got great kids," Meyer told the parents gathered at the lunch. "They say there are makers and takers in the world. These kids are definitely the makers."