Latest News, Newspaper Industry News

W.Va. high school students experience real-world learning through virtual internships

West Virginia American Water, Toyota Motor Manufacturing WV, Dow Inc. partner with The Education Alliance on summer Internships

WV Press Report

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Even in times of a pandemic, learning continues in West Virginia.

That message was demonstrated recently during capstone presentations of high school interns participating in The Education Alliance’s West Virginia Ready Summer Internship program.

U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., was among those observing the capstone presentations by zoom.

During their presentations — made during a zoom call July 31 with national and state leaders — the interns showcased not only the technical skills needed to do an internship during a pandemic, but also practical life skills like teamwork, professionalism, and work ethic learned during their internship. Each intern gave their capstone presentation to their business’ leadership team and outlined their experience and highlight their personal growth and future career goals.

U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito; Robert Burton, president of West Virginia American Water; Srini Matam, president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia; and Tom O’Neal, site director of Dow Inc.; were among those observing the capstone presentations, which were hosted by The Education Alliance’s Dr. Amelia Courts and Olivia McCuskey.  

“We are thrilled that Senator Capito is able to join us by Zoom to observe the interns’ capstone presentations. We are so pleased to highlight the tremendous growth and success of participating high school interns,” said Dr. Courts, who is president and chief executive officer of The Education Alliance. “The Education Alliance is excited to offer these real-world learning opportunities to West Virginia students. By creating a pathway of career readiness for West Virginia students, the WV Ready Internship Program is truly a life-changing experience. I want to thank Dow, Toyota, and WV American Water for hosting interns virtually this summer and look forward to expanding to additional businesses next year.”

The presentations were broken into three zoom calls. Speaking during the opening presentation, Senator Capito said additional funding to help with education during the pandemic is priority with Congress. She credited the interns for their work in virtual learning and making the most of the opportunity.

The first group of students interned with WV American Water:

“West Virginia American Water was proud to be one of only three companies in the state to participate in the Education Alliance’s virtual ready internship program. This opportunity allowed talented West Virginia students from across the state to observe our diverse operations, engage with our team and present their research and experiences as part of a capstone project. The Education Alliance did a wonderful job transforming this once in-person experience into a virtual one. This is a great opportunity for West Virginia American Water to maintain relationships with these talented students to potentially develop a talent pipeline in the future after completing their training or education,” a company official said.

The Education Alliance’s WV Ready Summer Internship Program started last year as a four-week, paid internship program that places rising high school juniors and seniors with West Virginia businesses. In its second year, due to COVID-19, the program transitioned to a virtual internship experience that placed 15 interns from Boone, Cabell, Kanawha, Putnam, Taylor, and Wood Counties at Dow Inc., Toyota Motor Manufacturing WV, and WV American Water Company.

The initiative, which was funded by grants from Toyota Motor Manufacturing WV and the Benedum Foundation, provides internship experiences to help students become “WV Ready Graduates” equipped with knowledge and skill sets needed for success after high school.

“Investing in our next generation is critical to the future success of West Virginia,” said Toyota’s Matam. “It is critical that business and community members step forward to prepare our future workforce. Toyota believes that every child deserves a chance at success and by investing in the WV Ready Internship program, we are proudly committed to helping prepare the state’s future workforce through education. With virtual training, we are able to keep our students safe amid this pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic will not stop us from educating our students.”

Students with their high school and internship company this year include:

— Jordan Mosley from St. Albans High School in Kanawha County at Toyota Motor Manufacturing WV;

— Aiden Kittle from Grafton High School in Taylor County at Toyota Motor Manufacturing WV;

— Rebekah Rowan from Parkersburg South High School in Wood County at

Toyota Motor Manufacturing WV;

— David Jarrell from Sherman High School in Boone County at Toyota Motor Manufacturing WV;

— James Scott from Huntington High School in Cabell County at Toyota Motor Manufacturing WV;

— Jace Larch from Riverside High School in Kanawha County at WV American Water;

— Tyrees Smith from Huntington High School in Cabell County at WV American Water;

—  Peyton Bielinski from Hurricane High School in Putnam at WV American Water;

— Kushal Modi from Nitro High School in Kanawha County at WV American Water;

— Garrett Beller from Winfield High School in Putnam County at WV American Water;

— Adam Keith from George Washington High School in Kanawha County at Dow Inc.;

— Callia Yang from George Washington High School in Kanawha County at Dow Inc.;

 — Yimin Cai from Hurricane High School in Putnam County at Dow Inc. ;

— Jacob Gillenwater from St. Albans High School in Kanawha County at Dow Inc.;

— Addie Davis from Grafton High School in Taylor County WV American Water.

The program is anticipated to be expanded in coming years to serve more of the state’s soon-to-be graduates, with the eventual goal being to expand statewide. To learn more about the program, visit

— About The Education Alliance: Founded in July 1983 as the first statewide public education fund in the nation, The Education Alliance is a private-sector initiative to help businesses understand the importance of financially and resourcefully supporting the state’s public schools and to give business a voice in public education that advances policies and practices to continually improve public school student achievement in West Virginia.

Comments are closed.

West Virginia Press Newspaper Network " "

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

And get our latest content in your inbox

Invalid email address