The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Photo credit: Nick Shockey / nshockey.express@gmail.com
A letter from the editor
February 6, 2024

Work experience—priceless

City College Internship coordinator Wendy Slobodnik shares with students the process it takes in order to obtain an internship that offers real-life work skills. Photo by || Maggie Phillips || [email protected]

City College’s Work Experience and Internship Program enables students to gain work experience in their fields of study and establish a network of coworkers to mentor them before transitioning from the academic world to the labor force.

“There is still a hidden job market,” said Wendy Slobodnik coordinator of the Work Experience and Internship Program. “Now, more than ever, it’s really who you know.”

Second-year City College students with declared majors and in good academic standing with a 2.5 GPA or higher have the option of being placed into one of 400 to 500 internships in the Los Rios district database.

“I’ve always been interested in helping people get placed in the workplace,” said Slobodnik, who has spent more than 12 years developing the program’s database.

According to Slobodnik, despite the weak economy, the trend will change over the next seven to eight years as baby boomers are set to retire en masse.

Employers will need to find viable replacements—the best way to cost-effectively do that, she said, is by hiring interns to see if they will work out in the long run as full-time employees.

Computer science major My Diem Ho says her experience as an intern at Unify, a software development company, has helped her gain insight into the software industry and helped her determine a direction for her career.

“I’m still trying to decide what I want to do,” said Ho. “It gives me a sense of what I like and don’t like.”

At her internship, Ho tests software changes for design flaws and accuracy to make sure the software functions properly.

According to Ho, she has learned many valuable lessons. Taking on more responsibility, time management and the hands-on experience she has gained help her to feel more confident when answering tough technical questions that will come up in future interviews when she graduates with her computer science degree from Harvey Mudd College in Southern California.

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Before coming to City College, political science professor Paul Frank’s experience working for former state Sen. Deborah Ortiz for two and a half years included responsibilities such as coordinating internships.

“Internships are a great way to get connected and develop a network of people,” Frank said, a “learning by doing” advocate.

According to Frank, he frequently learns about internships in various political offices and informs Slobodnik of openings to add to the district database.

“You are working for free for a summer or a semester, but the experience is invaluable,” Frank said. “It’s a great way of deciding what kind of career you want to go into. You’re gaining skills, making connections and deciding if it’s anything you want to do.”

Slobodnik and Frank said that some students realize they need to change the direction of their careers or educations once they have interned. For example, some students after interning at the Early Childhood Development Center find that they would prefer to work with teenagers instead of toddlers.

Internship Developer May Yang interned as a third grade teacher’s assistant at an elementary school when she realized that teaching youngsters was not for her.

“I thought about teaching, but when I interned there, I decided I don’t have that kind of patience to deal with kids and be so exhausted,” said Yang, who has worked in the Work Experience and Internship Program office for nearly three years since graduating from UC Berkeley.

She knew she wanted to stay in education, Yang said, so she didn’t have to change her degree—just the population she worked with—to college students.

With the assistance of the counseling office’s career center, students learn to develop their resumés, cover letters, practice mock interviews and are placed into the appropriate internship for their major.

If students are interested in learning more about the Work Experience and Internship Program, Slobodnik said, they should visit the office in Rodda Hall North 147 Counseling Department in the back next to the International Student Center or visit http://www.saccity-online.org/workexperience.

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