As the slow economic recovery continues, there are still many college and high school students struggling to find work this summer. Their employment woes will continue as many companies have cut summer internships and most of the low-skill employment is going to people who normally have better jobs in a good economy. Once, students could find summer work that offered both experience and a salary. But now, even seasonal summer employment is hard to find and most internships are unpaid. This trend might have the most adverse effects on high school students because they face diminished opportunities to a find traditional summer job.
For a small group of current and former Cathedral High School students, this is not the case thanks to an internship program through Fidelity. In the summer of 2011, Bob O’Neil, Fidelity Executive Vice-President and Cathedral High School Board of Trustee, began a seven-week internship program for Cathedral graduates. His concept was to provide opportunities for Cathedral's best students to learn and develop through real work in the professional setting at Fidelity.
Three Cathedral graduates from the Class of 2011 completed the program last summer with great success. As a result of the remarkable first year of the program for both the interns and Fidelity, O'Neill decided to expand the program to eight interns for the summer of 2012. He envisioned the program to foster an environment where "everyone can be a leader." So, O'Neill asked Delmira Monteiro and Nicola Webb to return for a second year to the lead the next group of Cathedral’s best and brightest.
Monteiro was Cathedral's 2011 Valedictorian and a merit scholar. She is a rising sophomore at Boston College and a Yawkey Scholarship recipient. Webb is a rising sophomore at St. Anselm College and was also a merit scholar at Cathedral. Joining Monteiro and Webb in the program are three graduates from the Class of 2012: Lexis Salters, Amely Monteiro, and Marlon Nelson, and three merit scholars from the Class of 2013: Kiana Jackson Dubose, Emily Kent, and Milarie Rivera. Lexis Salters was the 2012 Valedictorian and will be attending UMASS Boston. Marlon Nelson will be a freshman at Suffolk University and Amely Monteiro is narrowing down her choice for college.
O’Neill believes the internship program “is a better opportunity because it is real work.” He made sure the Cathedral interns experience was real. Each one was interviewed and completed the standard two-day training for new Fidelity hires. Then, they were placed to work in one of three divisions: Compliance, Risk, or Audit. Throughout the process, each intern reflects weekly on accomplished goals and new things learned. They are then required to create new goals for the upcoming week.
The combination of reflecting and goal setting through the program gives each intern the opportunity to contribute in a professional setting. The interns not only gain valuable professional experience, but they are also getting paid. By participating in the program last year, both Delmira Monteiro and Nicola Webb admitted the experiences helped to build their confidence when speaking in public or to large groups and it improved their professional communication skills when conversing with individuals. As the seven-week program draws to close, Marlon Nelson remarked, “This is a fun experience in an office setting. It’s a nice introduction in to the work environment.”