Pathway Program Adjusts to Remote Internships During Pandemic

May 3, 2021

Pathway at UCLA Extension has taken great pride in our robust internship program, which matches students with internship sites based on their career interests. For the last 15 years these internships have been in person. When Covid-19 restricted in-person internships for our safety in Los Angeles, Vocational Advisor, Rachael Ambler, started thinking outside the box. "Internships give our students a sense of purpose and responsibility, and even though in person opportunities were on hold, this need remained."

Pathway's Fall 2020 academic courses were held online, but transitioning our vocational program to run remotely was a challenge. Typically, students had met for a weekly Internship Seminar to discuss accomplishments and challenges they experienced at their jobs, and to give each other feedback and advice. Ambler took this weekly check-in and renovated it to a twice weekly course where students could explore job interests, hear personal stories from guest speakers, and learn about topics like socializing at work, and the best way to ask for a raise.

The more challenging task was creating remote internships. We felt that Pathway students should continue to have an opportunity for internships, as a core part of their program and of the working adult experience. In Spring 2021 we launched our remote internship program, partnering with 5 different organizations. The students interested in teaching and childcare were able to work remotely with the Krieger Childcare Center. One student, who is working on his cybersecurity certificate, joined the IT team at UCLA Extension, to assist in updating their database. Our partners with UCLA's Military Science Department welcomed a student intern, as did Premiere Living Services, a company dedicated to finding employment for neurodiverse students.

Pathway Program Adjusts to Remote Internships During Pandemic

Students have now been in their remote internships for 5 weeks and their growth is amazing.  They are relied upon by their superiors, thrive as members of a team, and take on an impressive amount of responsibility. When they return to campus, the students will be all the more resilient for having gained this experience.  Our current intern at Premiere Living Services, Ethan Grant says, "Having an internship during Covid is important because it shows people that you're dedicated to hard work."

By Jessica Broutt