An Open Letter to Businesses: The Value of Hiring High School Students

SchooLinks Staff
October 10, 2022
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Attracting good, motivated, young talent has become an ever-growing challenge for many businesses around the country. Finding ways to connect with aspiring professionals who can infuse innovation and enthusiasm–even before they have officially begun their professional careers–can be a key asset for the long-term success of a business or industry. 

For many companies, college internships or student job programs are the cornerstone of this strategy. Oftentimes, the minimum age for these programs and opportunities is artificially set at a student’s freshman year of college. This is based on the presumption that students any younger are not serious or focused or do not have the requisite skills to contribute productively to a business or company. 

This assumption, however, is both outdated and just plain wrong. And, it is excluding businesses from potential opportunities for energetic and eager employees, creative perspectives, and fostering relationships with young talent who may become valuable employees in the future. 

High school students are one of the greatest untapped resources in communities across the nation. Many are motivated, responsible, and excited to learn new skills. They have expertise that can support a plethora of businesses and industries. And, many are thoughtful about their impact on their communities and those around them. 

High school students are digital natives who can seamlessly navigate social media, digital collaboration tools, and graphic design programs. Unlike just a decade ago, many high school students have already earned industry certifications and built their technical skill sets with structured courses in their middle or high schools. With the expansion of career readiness programs across districts, many high school students have explored careers they are interested in pursuing and are eager and ready to have hands-on experiences in the field. And, these students are often willing to work for a lower rate and have more flexibility with their time. Many high schools will work with students to adapt their schedule for work or internship opportunities if they are building relevant skills. 

By inviting high school students to take on roles within a company, businesses are able to connect and form relationships with potential employees down the line. They are able to get to know these individuals in low-pressure situations and come to understand whether they might be a good fit for future roles and work. Hiring a student so early in their career path allows companies to begin to train students with specific skills, approaches, and ways of doing things when individuals are still in their very formative years and open and eager to learn. And, these programs and opportunities offer a meaningful way to engage a broader set of students in a particular field, fortifying a pipeline of prospective interest, expertise, and innovation for years to come.  

When students are able to immerse themselves in a hands-on role, it deepens their understanding of the field itself while also giving them a first-hand look at a company’s culture and overall impact on a community or field. These opportunities connect students with seasoned mentors who are able to share lessons learned and guide them on future decision-making. For many students, these early roles can have powerful impacts on their understanding of their passions and interests and help them to form plans for college and beyond. Because of this, these opportunities are sought after by students and allow companies to truly have their pick of some of the best and brightest high school students. 

Workforce development can and should be the priority of the entire community. Welcoming high school students as productive employees is a vital step toward this goal. In the short term, doing so can alleviate shortages of workers and infuse new ideas and perspectives into businesses and communities. In the longer term, connecting with students while still in high school nurtures the growth and development of local students and supports business operations and capacity. 

Business leaders, professional organizations, and local entrepreneurs must lead the way in opening doors for high school interns and employees. From veterinary clinics, to hospitals, to financial institutions, to technology startups, to law offices, to construction companies, business leaders should find ways to include high school students in their business development plans. 

It is up to each and every one of you to be part of this change. Today, take time to reflect on how high school students could fit into your business or organization. Reach out to your local schools to convey that you would like to partner. Share openings, advertise positions, create internship opportunities, and brainstorm other ways you can be part of equipping tomorrow’s business leaders with the knowledge, skills, and experience that will support and inspire their growth and development. This collective effort can and will nourish the health of a community’s economy and catalyze its development for decades to come.

Attracting good, motivated, young talent has become an ever-growing challenge for many businesses around the country. Finding ways to connect with aspiring professionals who can infuse innovation and enthusiasm–even before they have officially begun their professional careers–can be a key asset for the long-term success of a business or industry. 

For many companies, college internships or student job programs are the cornerstone of this strategy. Oftentimes, the minimum age for these programs and opportunities is artificially set at a student’s freshman year of college. This is based on the presumption that students any younger are not serious or focused or do not have the requisite skills to contribute productively to a business or company. 

This assumption, however, is both outdated and just plain wrong. And, it is excluding businesses from potential opportunities for energetic and eager employees, creative perspectives, and fostering relationships with young talent who may become valuable employees in the future. 

High school students are one of the greatest untapped resources in communities across the nation. Many are motivated, responsible, and excited to learn new skills. They have expertise that can support a plethora of businesses and industries. And, many are thoughtful about their impact on their communities and those around them. 

High school students are digital natives who can seamlessly navigate social media, digital collaboration tools, and graphic design programs. Unlike just a decade ago, many high school students have already earned industry certifications and built their technical skill sets with structured courses in their middle or high schools. With the expansion of career readiness programs across districts, many high school students have explored careers they are interested in pursuing and are eager and ready to have hands-on experiences in the field. And, these students are often willing to work for a lower rate and have more flexibility with their time. Many high schools will work with students to adapt their schedule for work or internship opportunities if they are building relevant skills. 

By inviting high school students to take on roles within a company, businesses are able to connect and form relationships with potential employees down the line. They are able to get to know these individuals in low-pressure situations and come to understand whether they might be a good fit for future roles and work. Hiring a student so early in their career path allows companies to begin to train students with specific skills, approaches, and ways of doing things when individuals are still in their very formative years and open and eager to learn. And, these programs and opportunities offer a meaningful way to engage a broader set of students in a particular field, fortifying a pipeline of prospective interest, expertise, and innovation for years to come.  

When students are able to immerse themselves in a hands-on role, it deepens their understanding of the field itself while also giving them a first-hand look at a company’s culture and overall impact on a community or field. These opportunities connect students with seasoned mentors who are able to share lessons learned and guide them on future decision-making. For many students, these early roles can have powerful impacts on their understanding of their passions and interests and help them to form plans for college and beyond. Because of this, these opportunities are sought after by students and allow companies to truly have their pick of some of the best and brightest high school students. 

Workforce development can and should be the priority of the entire community. Welcoming high school students as productive employees is a vital step toward this goal. In the short term, doing so can alleviate shortages of workers and infuse new ideas and perspectives into businesses and communities. In the longer term, connecting with students while still in high school nurtures the growth and development of local students and supports business operations and capacity. 

Business leaders, professional organizations, and local entrepreneurs must lead the way in opening doors for high school interns and employees. From veterinary clinics, to hospitals, to financial institutions, to technology startups, to law offices, to construction companies, business leaders should find ways to include high school students in their business development plans. 

It is up to each and every one of you to be part of this change. Today, take time to reflect on how high school students could fit into your business or organization. Reach out to your local schools to convey that you would like to partner. Share openings, advertise positions, create internship opportunities, and brainstorm other ways you can be part of equipping tomorrow’s business leaders with the knowledge, skills, and experience that will support and inspire their growth and development. This collective effort can and will nourish the health of a community’s economy and catalyze its development for decades to come.

Attracting good, motivated, young talent has become an ever-growing challenge for many businesses around the country. Finding ways to connect with aspiring professionals who can infuse innovation and enthusiasm–even before they have officially begun their professional careers–can be a key asset for the long-term success of a business or industry. 

For many companies, college internships or student job programs are the cornerstone of this strategy. Oftentimes, the minimum age for these programs and opportunities is artificially set at a student’s freshman year of college. This is based on the presumption that students any younger are not serious or focused or do not have the requisite skills to contribute productively to a business or company. 

This assumption, however, is both outdated and just plain wrong. And, it is excluding businesses from potential opportunities for energetic and eager employees, creative perspectives, and fostering relationships with young talent who may become valuable employees in the future. 

High school students are one of the greatest untapped resources in communities across the nation. Many are motivated, responsible, and excited to learn new skills. They have expertise that can support a plethora of businesses and industries. And, many are thoughtful about their impact on their communities and those around them. 

High school students are digital natives who can seamlessly navigate social media, digital collaboration tools, and graphic design programs. Unlike just a decade ago, many high school students have already earned industry certifications and built their technical skill sets with structured courses in their middle or high schools. With the expansion of career readiness programs across districts, many high school students have explored careers they are interested in pursuing and are eager and ready to have hands-on experiences in the field. And, these students are often willing to work for a lower rate and have more flexibility with their time. Many high schools will work with students to adapt their schedule for work or internship opportunities if they are building relevant skills. 

By inviting high school students to take on roles within a company, businesses are able to connect and form relationships with potential employees down the line. They are able to get to know these individuals in low-pressure situations and come to understand whether they might be a good fit for future roles and work. Hiring a student so early in their career path allows companies to begin to train students with specific skills, approaches, and ways of doing things when individuals are still in their very formative years and open and eager to learn. And, these programs and opportunities offer a meaningful way to engage a broader set of students in a particular field, fortifying a pipeline of prospective interest, expertise, and innovation for years to come.  

When students are able to immerse themselves in a hands-on role, it deepens their understanding of the field itself while also giving them a first-hand look at a company’s culture and overall impact on a community or field. These opportunities connect students with seasoned mentors who are able to share lessons learned and guide them on future decision-making. For many students, these early roles can have powerful impacts on their understanding of their passions and interests and help them to form plans for college and beyond. Because of this, these opportunities are sought after by students and allow companies to truly have their pick of some of the best and brightest high school students. 

Workforce development can and should be the priority of the entire community. Welcoming high school students as productive employees is a vital step toward this goal. In the short term, doing so can alleviate shortages of workers and infuse new ideas and perspectives into businesses and communities. In the longer term, connecting with students while still in high school nurtures the growth and development of local students and supports business operations and capacity. 

Business leaders, professional organizations, and local entrepreneurs must lead the way in opening doors for high school interns and employees. From veterinary clinics, to hospitals, to financial institutions, to technology startups, to law offices, to construction companies, business leaders should find ways to include high school students in their business development plans. 

It is up to each and every one of you to be part of this change. Today, take time to reflect on how high school students could fit into your business or organization. Reach out to your local schools to convey that you would like to partner. Share openings, advertise positions, create internship opportunities, and brainstorm other ways you can be part of equipping tomorrow’s business leaders with the knowledge, skills, and experience that will support and inspire their growth and development. This collective effort can and will nourish the health of a community’s economy and catalyze its development for decades to come.

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Attracting good, motivated, young talent has become an ever-growing challenge for many businesses around the country. Finding ways to connect with aspiring professionals who can infuse innovation and enthusiasm–even before they have officially begun their professional careers–can be a key asset for the long-term success of a business or industry. 

For many companies, college internships or student job programs are the cornerstone of this strategy. Oftentimes, the minimum age for these programs and opportunities is artificially set at a student’s freshman year of college. This is based on the presumption that students any younger are not serious or focused or do not have the requisite skills to contribute productively to a business or company. 

This assumption, however, is both outdated and just plain wrong. And, it is excluding businesses from potential opportunities for energetic and eager employees, creative perspectives, and fostering relationships with young talent who may become valuable employees in the future. 

High school students are one of the greatest untapped resources in communities across the nation. Many are motivated, responsible, and excited to learn new skills. They have expertise that can support a plethora of businesses and industries. And, many are thoughtful about their impact on their communities and those around them. 

High school students are digital natives who can seamlessly navigate social media, digital collaboration tools, and graphic design programs. Unlike just a decade ago, many high school students have already earned industry certifications and built their technical skill sets with structured courses in their middle or high schools. With the expansion of career readiness programs across districts, many high school students have explored careers they are interested in pursuing and are eager and ready to have hands-on experiences in the field. And, these students are often willing to work for a lower rate and have more flexibility with their time. Many high schools will work with students to adapt their schedule for work or internship opportunities if they are building relevant skills. 

By inviting high school students to take on roles within a company, businesses are able to connect and form relationships with potential employees down the line. They are able to get to know these individuals in low-pressure situations and come to understand whether they might be a good fit for future roles and work. Hiring a student so early in their career path allows companies to begin to train students with specific skills, approaches, and ways of doing things when individuals are still in their very formative years and open and eager to learn. And, these programs and opportunities offer a meaningful way to engage a broader set of students in a particular field, fortifying a pipeline of prospective interest, expertise, and innovation for years to come.  

When students are able to immerse themselves in a hands-on role, it deepens their understanding of the field itself while also giving them a first-hand look at a company’s culture and overall impact on a community or field. These opportunities connect students with seasoned mentors who are able to share lessons learned and guide them on future decision-making. For many students, these early roles can have powerful impacts on their understanding of their passions and interests and help them to form plans for college and beyond. Because of this, these opportunities are sought after by students and allow companies to truly have their pick of some of the best and brightest high school students. 

Workforce development can and should be the priority of the entire community. Welcoming high school students as productive employees is a vital step toward this goal. In the short term, doing so can alleviate shortages of workers and infuse new ideas and perspectives into businesses and communities. In the longer term, connecting with students while still in high school nurtures the growth and development of local students and supports business operations and capacity. 

Business leaders, professional organizations, and local entrepreneurs must lead the way in opening doors for high school interns and employees. From veterinary clinics, to hospitals, to financial institutions, to technology startups, to law offices, to construction companies, business leaders should find ways to include high school students in their business development plans. 

It is up to each and every one of you to be part of this change. Today, take time to reflect on how high school students could fit into your business or organization. Reach out to your local schools to convey that you would like to partner. Share openings, advertise positions, create internship opportunities, and brainstorm other ways you can be part of equipping tomorrow’s business leaders with the knowledge, skills, and experience that will support and inspire their growth and development. This collective effort can and will nourish the health of a community’s economy and catalyze its development for decades to come.

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Attracting good, motivated, young talent has become an ever-growing challenge for many businesses around the country. Finding ways to connect with aspiring professionals who can infuse innovation and enthusiasm–even before they have officially begun their professional careers–can be a key asset for the long-term success of a business or industry. 

For many companies, college internships or student job programs are the cornerstone of this strategy. Oftentimes, the minimum age for these programs and opportunities is artificially set at a student’s freshman year of college. This is based on the presumption that students any younger are not serious or focused or do not have the requisite skills to contribute productively to a business or company. 

This assumption, however, is both outdated and just plain wrong. And, it is excluding businesses from potential opportunities for energetic and eager employees, creative perspectives, and fostering relationships with young talent who may become valuable employees in the future. 

High school students are one of the greatest untapped resources in communities across the nation. Many are motivated, responsible, and excited to learn new skills. They have expertise that can support a plethora of businesses and industries. And, many are thoughtful about their impact on their communities and those around them. 

High school students are digital natives who can seamlessly navigate social media, digital collaboration tools, and graphic design programs. Unlike just a decade ago, many high school students have already earned industry certifications and built their technical skill sets with structured courses in their middle or high schools. With the expansion of career readiness programs across districts, many high school students have explored careers they are interested in pursuing and are eager and ready to have hands-on experiences in the field. And, these students are often willing to work for a lower rate and have more flexibility with their time. Many high schools will work with students to adapt their schedule for work or internship opportunities if they are building relevant skills. 

By inviting high school students to take on roles within a company, businesses are able to connect and form relationships with potential employees down the line. They are able to get to know these individuals in low-pressure situations and come to understand whether they might be a good fit for future roles and work. Hiring a student so early in their career path allows companies to begin to train students with specific skills, approaches, and ways of doing things when individuals are still in their very formative years and open and eager to learn. And, these programs and opportunities offer a meaningful way to engage a broader set of students in a particular field, fortifying a pipeline of prospective interest, expertise, and innovation for years to come.  

When students are able to immerse themselves in a hands-on role, it deepens their understanding of the field itself while also giving them a first-hand look at a company’s culture and overall impact on a community or field. These opportunities connect students with seasoned mentors who are able to share lessons learned and guide them on future decision-making. For many students, these early roles can have powerful impacts on their understanding of their passions and interests and help them to form plans for college and beyond. Because of this, these opportunities are sought after by students and allow companies to truly have their pick of some of the best and brightest high school students. 

Workforce development can and should be the priority of the entire community. Welcoming high school students as productive employees is a vital step toward this goal. In the short term, doing so can alleviate shortages of workers and infuse new ideas and perspectives into businesses and communities. In the longer term, connecting with students while still in high school nurtures the growth and development of local students and supports business operations and capacity. 

Business leaders, professional organizations, and local entrepreneurs must lead the way in opening doors for high school interns and employees. From veterinary clinics, to hospitals, to financial institutions, to technology startups, to law offices, to construction companies, business leaders should find ways to include high school students in their business development plans. 

It is up to each and every one of you to be part of this change. Today, take time to reflect on how high school students could fit into your business or organization. Reach out to your local schools to convey that you would like to partner. Share openings, advertise positions, create internship opportunities, and brainstorm other ways you can be part of equipping tomorrow’s business leaders with the knowledge, skills, and experience that will support and inspire their growth and development. This collective effort can and will nourish the health of a community’s economy and catalyze its development for decades to come.

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Attracting good, motivated, young talent has become an ever-growing challenge for many businesses around the country. Finding ways to connect with aspiring professionals who can infuse innovation and enthusiasm–even before they have officially begun their professional careers–can be a key asset for the long-term success of a business or industry. 

For many companies, college internships or student job programs are the cornerstone of this strategy. Oftentimes, the minimum age for these programs and opportunities is artificially set at a student’s freshman year of college. This is based on the presumption that students any younger are not serious or focused or do not have the requisite skills to contribute productively to a business or company. 

This assumption, however, is both outdated and just plain wrong. And, it is excluding businesses from potential opportunities for energetic and eager employees, creative perspectives, and fostering relationships with young talent who may become valuable employees in the future. 

High school students are one of the greatest untapped resources in communities across the nation. Many are motivated, responsible, and excited to learn new skills. They have expertise that can support a plethora of businesses and industries. And, many are thoughtful about their impact on their communities and those around them. 

High school students are digital natives who can seamlessly navigate social media, digital collaboration tools, and graphic design programs. Unlike just a decade ago, many high school students have already earned industry certifications and built their technical skill sets with structured courses in their middle or high schools. With the expansion of career readiness programs across districts, many high school students have explored careers they are interested in pursuing and are eager and ready to have hands-on experiences in the field. And, these students are often willing to work for a lower rate and have more flexibility with their time. Many high schools will work with students to adapt their schedule for work or internship opportunities if they are building relevant skills. 

By inviting high school students to take on roles within a company, businesses are able to connect and form relationships with potential employees down the line. They are able to get to know these individuals in low-pressure situations and come to understand whether they might be a good fit for future roles and work. Hiring a student so early in their career path allows companies to begin to train students with specific skills, approaches, and ways of doing things when individuals are still in their very formative years and open and eager to learn. And, these programs and opportunities offer a meaningful way to engage a broader set of students in a particular field, fortifying a pipeline of prospective interest, expertise, and innovation for years to come.  

When students are able to immerse themselves in a hands-on role, it deepens their understanding of the field itself while also giving them a first-hand look at a company’s culture and overall impact on a community or field. These opportunities connect students with seasoned mentors who are able to share lessons learned and guide them on future decision-making. For many students, these early roles can have powerful impacts on their understanding of their passions and interests and help them to form plans for college and beyond. Because of this, these opportunities are sought after by students and allow companies to truly have their pick of some of the best and brightest high school students. 

Workforce development can and should be the priority of the entire community. Welcoming high school students as productive employees is a vital step toward this goal. In the short term, doing so can alleviate shortages of workers and infuse new ideas and perspectives into businesses and communities. In the longer term, connecting with students while still in high school nurtures the growth and development of local students and supports business operations and capacity. 

Business leaders, professional organizations, and local entrepreneurs must lead the way in opening doors for high school interns and employees. From veterinary clinics, to hospitals, to financial institutions, to technology startups, to law offices, to construction companies, business leaders should find ways to include high school students in their business development plans. 

It is up to each and every one of you to be part of this change. Today, take time to reflect on how high school students could fit into your business or organization. Reach out to your local schools to convey that you would like to partner. Share openings, advertise positions, create internship opportunities, and brainstorm other ways you can be part of equipping tomorrow’s business leaders with the knowledge, skills, and experience that will support and inspire their growth and development. This collective effort can and will nourish the health of a community’s economy and catalyze its development for decades to come.