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Summer Internship Program Is a Big Hit for Students—and Employers

08/15/2022 09:39:10 AM


The second year of Temple Beth El’s summer internship partnership with the Boys & Girls Club interns came to a successful close at the end of July. Through this project, 11 high school and college students were placed in summer internships with employers from Temple Beth El and the broader Jewish community, up from six students last summer. 

The project is a five-way partnership: 

  • Temple Beth El conceived of the project, found willing employers, and applied for a grant to fund stipends for the interns, led by Betsy Abramson of the Racial Justice Action Team. 
  • The Boys & Girls Clubs of Dane County (BGCDC) selected the interns, matched them with employers, and worked with employers on job expectations. 
  • The Jewish Federation of Madison provided a $10,000 grant from the Cheryl Rosen Weston Fund to pay for some of the stipends. 
  • The host employers provided meaningful work, supervision, and encouragement. In addition, most of the employers generously donated between half and the full $1,800 stipend to support the students’ work. 
  • Last but not least, the 11 students worked hard and came away with valuable job experience.

The 11 TBE-initiated sites and the supervising employers from the Jewish community were Books4School (Amy, Marty, Molly, and Randy Fields), Community Justice Inc. (Carousel Bayrd), Frank Beverage Group (Elizabeth Frank Friedman), Frank Productions (Marla and Larry Frank and Jesse Sherman), General Beverage Group (the Minkoff family), Jewish Social Services (Jim Mackman), LIFT Wisconsin (Marsha Mansfield), Madison Youth Arts (Mike Ross), Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra (Joe Loehnis), Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice (Rabbi Bonnie Margulis), and Wisconsin Primary Health Care Association (Aleksandr Kladnitsky).

The employers provided a combined $11,000 toward the stipends. The full $1,800 stipend was donated by Books4School, Frank Beverage Group, General Beverage Group, and Wisconsin Primary Health Care Association. Partial stipends were paid by Jewish Social Services, Madison Youth Arts, Frank Productions, and the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra.

On July 29, TBE hosted a Shabbat dinner celebration for the interns, their families, employers, and staff from the partner organizations. While enjoying their first tastes of challah and kugel, the interns spoke about what they learned and enjoyed about their experiences, and what they hoped to do in the future:

  • Abae Fobate, who interned at Books4School, noted that she learned a lot during her internship in the book warehouse. She realized that even the routine job of packing books is really exciting when you see how important these books are for the schools and children receiving them.
  • Peyton Barber, who interned at Frank Productions, thought it was amazing that she got to learn so much of the nuts and bolts of running performances at four different Madison venues.
  • Claudia Salgado, who interned with LIFT Wisconsin, said she felt pretty overwhelmed at first, jumping into two direct service clinics for clients, but her supervisor’s assistance and support helped her get up to speed and learn a great deal.
  • Olga Gatesi, who interned with Jewish Social Services, initially thought she wouldn’t be interested in learning about social services. But having been born in Rwanda, she became especially interested in the work when she discovered that JSS helped resettle and support refugees. The experience strengthened her interest in becoming an immigration attorney.

Similarly, the employers uniformly noted that the students were delightful, added new perspectives to their work sites, and demonstrated impressive focus and commitment.

According to TBE’s Betsy Abramson, “At this point, the sites TBE has recruited represent over 20% of the sites that BGCDC matches interns with. We are totally delighted at the success and growth of the program, and we are confident that the model we have created has great potential for expansion. We are enormously grateful to the Jewish Federation of Madison for providing the seed money and to our most generous employers in the Jewish community for their donation of time and funds to support these impressive young people in gaining valuable job skills and knowledge.”

September 27, 2022 2 Tishrei 5783