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New summer internship program offers employment opportunities for DCPS students

DC Public School students meet with employers about summer internship opportunities. Wednesday, May 25, 2016. (ABC7 photo)

The library at Columbia Heights Education Campus in Northwest Washington was transformed into a job fair on Wednesday. Students came with one purpose. Kimoni Stephens is a 17-year-old junior at the school and explained, "We are here interviewing for internships over the summer."

The program offers 500 paid internships to DC Public School (DCPS) students with a range of employers from the Washington Nationals to the White House. Maria Tukeva is the principal of Columbia Heights and told ABC 7 News, "It's an amazing experience for young people to have a paid internship in their 11th grade year because that will help them in their 12th grade year to keep even more focus. It will help them realize if this is the career they want to go into as well."

The participating students are enrolled in the National Academy Foundation Career Academies at DCPS. Their curriculum has prepared them for this special day. "We're learning how to present yourself in public. We're learning how to act on an interview and handle certain situations," Stephens said.

Kajuan Centeno knows what he wants out of his future. "I want to be a hotel owner or entrepreneur," he confidently stated. Before the 17-year-old does that, he must secure his first job. "It's going great. They asked me some very good questions. They liked the attitude that I have, so I think it's going really well," he shared.

Von Iyengar, an internship coordinator with Courtyard Mariott agreed. "These kids have so many big dreams. When I ask them questions, 'What do you want to be?' They say, 'I want to own a hotel.' One of them even told me today. So that for them is so great and we are only here to support them."

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