News Release

January 24, 2014

Business volunteers make internships meaningful

Partners in Education has selected 24 local youth for the winter session of its Internship Program after a rigorous application and interview process conducted by staff and local business volunteers.

Over the course of seven weeks, these new interns will receive training on topics such as interview and communication skills, resumes and cover letters, workplace dress and etiquette, and financial literacy, while benefitting from interaction with local professionals who have volunteered as mentors. After this training, they will be matched with local businesses for internships of eight to 10 weeks.

Volunteers from local businesses are involved at every level of the program, including the selection process, interviews, trainings, and on the job site. Those who are committed to job readiness for youth but are unable to host an intern can sign up at to help with specific selection and training activities.

“Students love working with our volunteers on subjects ranging from resumes and cover letters to interview skills, customer service, workplace etiquette, and financial literacy. Volunteers even help students select the perfect interview outfit. The job readiness training allows students to connect with adults from a variety of professional backgrounds and gives them the chance to learn directly from the type of people they hope to be hired by. We always need more enthusiastic volunteers to use their personal and professional experience in leading the training activities,” said Program Manager Chelsea Duffy.

Formed in 1977, Partners in Education is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization administered by the Santa Barbara County Education Office under the guidance of the business and educational leaders on its board of directors. Its mission is to connect businesses and individuals with schools, and the organizations that serve them, to help improve public education in ways that support a vibrant economy, a healthy community, and the well being of local children and their families.

In addition to the Internship Program, Partners in Education has two other main program areas, all administered by the Santa Barbara County Education Office, that are designed to support schools, local businesses and the broader community through partnership, collaboration, and volunteerism.

  • The Volunteer Coordination Program recruits, trains, and places community volunteers at schools that request them. The program also provides activities that prepare students for local jobs, such as Career Day, mock interviews, job shadows, high school academy programs, and guest speakers in classrooms.
  • Computers for Families accepts donations of used PC equipment, refurbishes it, and awards it without charge to low-income students. Taking a comprehensive approach to bridging the “digital divide” that can keep low-income students from succeeding in school, Computers for Families also provides discounted Internet service, training, and continuing technical support for teachers and families, as well as a computer repair program at Los Robles High School.

To host an intern or learn more about the application process, contact Duffy at or 964-4710, ext. 4421.

Media note: One way to understand the impact of the Internship Program is to consider these profiles of former interns:

Erika Terrazas

While she was growing up, Erika Terrazas benefited from all three Partners in Education programs. She received a refurbished computer in the fourth grade through Computers for Families, engaged with volunteers and local professionals through Career Day and other activities, and then participated in the Internship Program.

She was a junior at Santa Barbara High School when she applied to the Internship Program nearly four years ago. Having been part of the Don’s Net Café, an on-campus, student-operated business, she was eager to explore career opportunities in business and accounting. Erika’s internship in the accounting department of Community West Bank allowed her to do just that.

In her interview with the bank’s human resources manager she was so impressive that she was assigned to take over many of the duties of a bank employee who was on maternity leave. Her performance on the job, including the impression she had made on her supervisors and co-workers, led the bank to hire her the following summer and keep her on through her first year at Santa Barbara City College.

The first in her family to attend college, Erika made education a priority and has chosen a career in business and accounting. Having left her position at CWB to study abroad for a semester in Italy, Erika is now an employee of the Santa Barbara County Education Office, working in Fiscal Services, while continuing to attend SBCC.

Here is a link to video featuring Erika on the job at Community West Bank:

Henry Roman

Henry Roman was just a sophomore in Regional Occupational Program (ROP) automotive classes at San Marcos High School when he applied to the Internship Program, but the level of professionalism he exhibited was beyond his years. He wanted to apply the skills he was learning in class to a real business setting, and his goal after completing training was to be placed with a local automotive shop.

Upon meeting him, Clark Volmar of Clark Motors was just as impressed as the Partners staff had been. While an intern, Henry learned more about car maintenance and engine repair, along with what goes into running a small business. He valued his job so much that the long bike ride to work after school didn’t bother him.

He told Partners staff that the internship was making him a more organized person, both personally and professionally. He now knew how to prioritize. “My mom likes it because I’ve been keeping my room clean!” he said. Because he admired Henry’s enthusiasm and dedication to the job, Volmar hired Henry after the internship and, two years later, he is still working at Clark Motors.