Rapid Growth Of NCHS Internship Program Raises Questions

New Canaan High School’s senior internship program has grown sixfold since its inception four years ago—from 12 students in 2011 to 72 students this year—and additional staff will be needed to manage it when it reaches the “tipping point” of about 125 students, Susan Carroll, coordinator for the high school’s college and career center, told the Board of Education Monday night. “As we celebrate this program’s growth and success … it’s also time to identify its future challenges,” Carroll said, adding that while the program is quite small by comparison to those of other area high schools—Greenwich, for example has more than 400 students in its internship program—it is growing very quickly, thanks to the district’s marketing efforts. Currently New Canaan High School’s internship program is supported by a committee of about 50 people—including school staff, community members and the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce—who provide hands-on, personalized coaching and training to the interns, Carroll explained. Students participate in the program for four weeks in May-June and work about 25-30 hours per week. All the internships are non-paid and all participating businesses must be within a 15-mile radius of the high school.