By VICTOR CALDERON
The New Vision
Students at San Miguel High School in Tucson may have a leg up on their peers when it comes to finding employment, thanks to a program at their school.
San Miguel High, a Lasallian school that is a member of the Cristo Rey network for students in economically underserved communities, offers the Corporate Internship Program. Students are placed with area businesses including the University of Arizona and the Carondelet Health Network to work in exchange for tuition assistance.
“I have been able to experience diverse occupations,” said San Miguel student Nichole Contreras, 18. She has worked at Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona, Inc.; the Volunteer Center for Southern Arizona; Casa de los Niños and B/E Aerospace.
“The fact that everyone is determined to be here, pursue further education and graduate from college is great,” said Contreras, who plans to study nursing or engineering in college — St. Mary’s College in Moraga, Calif. and the University of Arizona are among her top choices.
San Miguel has about 310 students in grades 9-12, said Mari John, the internship program’s associate director.
Almost 100 percent of San Miguel students graduate and move on to college, officials said.
“They gain so much knowledge and professional experience being out in our local businesses,” John said. “They can count on adult mentors in every field.”
Andres Ramirez, 17, said he transferred to San Miguel from a public high school largely because of the internship program.
“I like that San Miguel is a smaller school and teachers are always there for you,” said Ramirez, who has worked at Airtronics and in the Material Science and Engineering Building at the U of A.
Other program partners include the Arizona Daily Star, the Jim Click Automotive Team and the Diocese of Tucson.
“Working in offices now will help us when we’re older with our communication skills in order to find jobs,” said Adrian Sanchez, 14, who works in the Diocese’s Pastoral Center.
If you are a Tucson-area business that would like to host San Miguel students contact the school at 520-294-6403 or email firstname.lastname@example.org