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Summer Construction Internship Offers Experience to Local Students

By Beth Cox
Freelance Writer

Johnson County High School students now have the chance to participate in a summer program that allows students to get “hands-on” experience working with construction companies during the summer.
The summer construction internship is a collaboration between the First Tennessee Human Resource Area (FTHRA) and construction companies that are needing skilled labor.
Lottie Ryans from FTHRA stated that construction companies are struggling to find employees, so they partnered together with high schools to begin the summer internship program.
Johnson County, along with Washington County, was chosen for this unique opportunity.
Nearly 30 students applied for the jobs; ten students were chosen from Johnson County.
Officials said that Johnson County was chosen for the projects due to the construction program at the high school where students, along with their teachers, go to a construction site and build houses.
Ryans wanted to build upon the existing framework of a successful program but would allow full-time employment for the students.
Herbie Adams, the contact person for the school system and Ryans, contacted the construction companies to discuss the internship program around the first of the
Adams continued to work with his vocational teachers to get the word out about the summer program and to help identify potential students.
The construction companies are Burleson Construction, Acorn Electric, and Norwell.
The students were interviewed, and drug tested before school was out in May. Background checks were also conducted on each applicant.
Ryans stated each construction company spent around $300-$500 on each intern.
“If the student performs to the ‘employer’s expectation, the possibility of more permanent employment is likely,” Ryans said.
Adams mentioned that for every five employees that retire, only one could be found to replace them. Recent high school graduate, and one of the interns this summer is Noah Cox, who enjoys working for Burleson Construction.
“Being an intern for Burleson has taught me a lot about the construction business,” Cox said. “Every day, I learn something new.”
Adams emphasized that the goal is to match students with potential employers to help further their skills and the “likelihood of getting into a good career after graduation.”
Adams will be visiting the students on site to see how they are doing, but the overall evaluation and supervision is the responsibility of the
construction companies.
The summer construction internship is a pilot program and will end in July, but if everything goes well, there
is potential for further growth.