Imagine, at the age of 17, creating and implementing an email campaign for a Marketing department, or getting into the nitty gritty of a credit check for Accounting. Or even beginning a company-wide computer refresh and getting hands-on experience working in a company’s infrastructure with an IT expert.With some experience under your belt, approaching one of the biggest decisions of your life — choosing your major and college — might be a little less intimidating or terrifying.For students at Pinckney New Tech High School in Livingston County, Michigan, the process of figuring out their career path is a little easier than most — because they actually have the opportunity to do legitimate, useful work in a field of their interest.To graduate with the New Tech seal on their diplomas, Pinckney students need to complete a 40-hour unpaid internship. This falls in line with the New Tech Network’s educational strategy, which focuses on project-based learning.And what better way to immerse students in a real-world-experience project than an internship at a national company?These 17-year-olds come into the company and use all the teamwork and critical-thinking skills they’ve been developing and implementing for three years to accomplish genuine projects with real business value.In an age where internships so often consist of getting coffee, making copies, and performing other mundane and meaningless tasks, the partnership between Lowry Solutions and Pinckney New Tech High School strives to deliver legitimate skill-building experience on real projects.Take, for example, this year’s crop of IT interns. This summer, Lowry implemented a cell phone refresh and a laptop refresh — the latter requiring a jump from old hardware and software to an entirely new laptop model and updated operating system.Not only was this project essential to the company to keep employees up-to-date with modern technology, but it also required an intense amount of work and many complicated steps before completion. The work that went into this project was enough to divide among six interns, with careful guidance from Lowry’s IT team.Each intern worked on just a piece of the overall puzzle of this project, but they learned essential IT and cybersecurity skills that they could not have gotten in a traditional internship.Here’s a glimpse at some of the responsibilities the IT interns had during their time at Lowry Solutions:Configure Lowry’s management serverCreate the image that would be deployed to all new laptopsMigrate several employees to new laptops for control group testingFix issues in the original image, based on results from the control groupInstall upgraded hardware, and upgrade and configure system BIOSDeploy final image and prepare laptops for company-wide employee useBecause of the interns’ hard work and dedication, combined with the expert guidance of Lowry’s IT team, both the cell phone and the laptop refreshes were successful. Everything went off without a hitch.As a high schooler, knowing that you had an active hand in the success of a major IT initiative is something you wouldn’t soon forget.In addition to the technology refreshes, this same group of IT interns got to help with the day-to-day responsibilities of an IT help desk, which includes anything from basic presentation setup for the sales department to troubleshooting malfunctioning programs.The hands-on, immersive nature of these IT internships also falls in line with the Regional Alliances and Multistakeholder Partnership to Stimulate (RAMPS) Cybersecurity Education and Workforce Development.In collaboration with Pinckney Community Schools, Lowry Solutions supports this program, which encourages partnerships between schools and local businesses to develop IT and cybersecurity skills in students. The ultimate goal of the program is to increase the pipeline of students pursuing cybersecurity careers.For the students who already know what they want to do, the internship program with Lowry offers a chance to explore an avenue in their chosen industry. And for those who aren’t sure, it’s an opportunity to explore something new and try something they may never have seriously considered.
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