Summer jobs with a side of learning

SANDUSKY It's that time again. When the summer interns are the ones answering the phone and delivering the mail.
May 24, 2010



It's that time again.

When the summer interns are the ones answering the phone and delivering the mail.

But internships don't have to be all about busy work. In fact, many aren't at all.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics defines internships as providing "short-term, practical experience for students, recent graduates and people changing careers."

While most internships are designed for college students, many companies are open to hiring high school students and people seeking a change in careers.

John Schaeffer, Castalia, is interning for Illinois-based AgriGold this summer. Schaeffer attends Wilmington College where he is double majoring in agribusiness and public relations.

Schaeffer, 19, said he chose the internship with the company because it brought him back home, pays well -- about $800 biweekly -- and gives him a preview into agribusiness. He decided not to receive college credit for his internship this summer.

As an agriculture intern for this area, Schaeffer assists a corn specialist. He describes his duties as "very hands-on." His internship definitely gives him insight into his future career. He enjoys working with the farmers and "getting to talk to them one-on-one."

Josh Seidell is interning at Hotel Breakers at Cedar Point. An 18-year-old hospitality and tourism management major at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., Seidell said he was excited to find an internship close to home.

"This is what I've wanted to go into for a while now," said Seidell, of Canton, who is living at the hotel for his paid internship. "It's good experience for the future."

He is paid $7 an hour, but if he fulfills his entire contract, he will receive a 50 cent per hour bonus at the end of the year.

He also receives perks, such as unlimited park visits, and will receive college credit for his work.

That's not all.

"Most likely you'll be coming back and will be employed by the company you interned for," Seidell said.

But not all internships are paid and not all interns are college students.

Steve Browne has worked in the food industry for more than 20 years. Browne, 41, of Sandusky, said he was feeling "burnt out" and needed a career change.

Always interested in radio, Browne decided to enroll at the Ohio Center for Broadcasting in Valley View. In March, Browne began his internship at Clear Channel in Sandusky.

Some of his internship duties as the promotions and marketing intern include coming up with different ideas to do for radio contests and on-air, helping out at different remotes and reading for Friday afternoon shows.

"It's a combination of everything," said Browne about his favorite part of the unpaid job. "It's just the experience itself."

Kristina Rivera is Clear Channel's other intern.

Rivera, 29, is enrolled at the Ohio Center for Broadcasting. After working in theater for five years, Rivera thought it was the perfect time to change careers and get into broadcasting.

"It's enjoyable," she said. "It's entertainment. It's fun."

Rivera interns two days at Clear Channel, from 5:30 a.m. to noon.

She describes her experience so far as "early." Her duties include checking satellite feeds, checking on new DVD and CD releases and getting games ready.

Both Browne and Rivera have been lucky.

They've experienced what it is like to be on-air -- something they both say other students in their class have not.

"We get to see how the business works," Rivera said.

"We get a feel for it," Browne said.

But both Browne and Rivera are stretched thin this summer. Not only do they work a few days a week at the radio station -- sometimes even several days -- they also hold part-time jobs and are attending broadcasting classes before they graduate this summer.

But, of course, it's all about the experience, they said.