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CareerSource Central Florida CEO Pam Nabors Says Internship Program Helps Connect Workers With Companies That are Hiring

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Photo: Sebastian Hermann

CareerSource Central Florida received 7 million dollars in CARES Act funding to help residents find jobs after they were furloughed or laid off during the pandemic.

About two million dollars is going towards a paid internship program. 

CareerSource CEO Pam Nabors talked with 90.7 WMFE about how the program connects workers with companies which are hiring.

Read the interview. 

Danielle: Tell me about how the internship program works and what different industries might be represented?

Pam: So actually the internship program, it works in concert with the person who is impacted. So first of all, when an individual applies to Help is Here, we identify and make sure that they’re qualified for Help is Here. They have to be an Orange County resident, they have to have had an impact to their job, or their business from the coronavirus crisis. And then we determined through assessment what really is the best next step for them. So internship might be one opportunity, but it also might be a direct referral to an open job. Or it could be looking at a short term skills training. So it’s very customized to each individual. In terms of the kinds of internships really, we have many different kinds of internships, both in the public and private sector. We have law office clerks, we have educational opportunities, teaching assistants, not just with educational institutions, but also with nonprofit organizations. We have production assistant, we have a nutritionist, for example. And many times these internships, this temporary opportunity can be that runway to an actual job.

Danielle: Tell me a little bit about the folks that have signed up so far, kind of what are their stories? And what sort of backgrounds do they come from?

Pam: We actually had out of work performers. As you know, we have a pretty significant and talented workforce here in Central Florida, that support our tourism industry. And so, for example, we had out of work performers who were able to actually go to work at Central Florida Community Arts in a number of different kinds of positions, production assistant, educator, educational assistant, because Central Florida Community Arts also has an Arts Academy. And so that’s one example where individuals were able to go to work immediately utilizing their existing skills, but having an opportunity to continue to work. But you know, it really runs the gamut, Danielle, we have individuals who have gone into other restaurant working positions, chefs, for example, that had been rehired out there in internships. We’ve had individuals go to United Way, for example, who had some customer service background, you know, they may have been impacted, they worked in a customer service setting, in a contact center for vacation planning, etc. And so we’ve actually put them to work at United Way supporting the 211 call center that is helping individuals impacted across our region with all kinds of different support services.

Danielle: Do people need to have any specific qualifications or even previous training to participate in some of these?

Pam: Not really, with the internship because I think the benefit there is that we’re looking to actually help people to train on the job. Obviously, with some of the kinds of internship positions when I think about a law clerk, for example, experience in either administrative executive support or experience in legal organizations would be definitely helpful. What we do with the employer side of this equation is as we’re looking at people who might be interested in the internships, we’re also presenting those candidates via resume to the employers and the employers actually have an opportunity to interview and say, ‘Yes, I’d like to have this person in the internship.’ So they have a pool of workers. So it operates very much like a job referral, job search process, except that there is this bridge internship, paid internship opportunity, in the timeframe between assessing for a job and then that business hiring.

If you’d like to listen to the full conversation, click on the clip at the top of the page.

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Danielle Prieur

About Danielle Prieur

Reporter & Fill-in Host

Danielle Prieur is a general assignment reporter at WMFE. You can hear her reporting on a daily basis on the station. She also fills-in as a host during the morning and afternoon drive times. Her reporting has been featured on NPR, Marketplace, Here & Now, and Vox. Danielle is originally from Rochester Hills, ... Read Full Bio »