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How internships impact students

Stroll down memory lane with me for just a bit. Do you remember your first job? I’m of the mind that most people do. Aside from babysitting (now dubbed childcare), my first job was teaching tennis to adults during the summer. My high school tennis coach recruited me, so to speak. At the time, the experience meant the following things to me:

  1. A whopping paycheck for the summer of $500! I was in heaven! (We were on the court from 8 to noon and 6 to 9 pm 5 days a week. I don’t even want to calculate the number of hours for the summer!)
  2. I was getting a great tan! (minus the incredibly white feet!)
  3. We went out for ice cream each Friday! (Celebration of a week of lessons!)

Why am I bringing up this “first job” topic? Well, you may or may not know that January 2018 marks the 16th anniversary of National Mentoring Month. I direct the Career Internship Program at Concordia Lutheran High School and care deeply about career awareness and professional development of high school students. Enter in the key player of mentors. My tennis coach served as my influential mentor.

Mentors help develop young people for careers and workplace skills. Mentors provide soft and hard skills to young people; assist mentees in networking with industry professionals, provide guidance in educational and career goals; and connect them with appropriate resources.

The Career Internship Program at Concordia provides “hands-on” experiences to seniors who want to explore professional careers requiring additional degrees and/or certifications beyond high school. Internships are tailored to the unique needs and interests of each student and are considered a “capstone experience” toward fulfillment of the student’s meaningful future plans. This program would not work without willing and able mentors. 

Concordia has offered the Career Internship program since spring 2010, positively impacting many students’ career planning. Internship sites have included such places as Parkview Hospital, City of Fort Wayne, St. Joseph Hospital, Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control, Susan’s Fashions, Integrity Physical Therapy, K105 FM, St. Michael Emmanuel Lutheran School, Junior Achievement, and Fort Wayne Ballet among others. At each site specialized learning experiences are offered that could not be provided within the restrictions of a classroom.

The program is always seeking mentors and businesses/organizations that would be interested in serving as potential internship sites. The internship is an unpaid position that provides an opportunity for networking and “real world” advancement.  

If you are interested in learning more about the program, please contact Luanne Erdos, Career Internship Program Director at (260) 203-4575 or

Oh yes, now, many years later, my tennis instructing taught me the following work skills:

  1. The value of a work ethic. (The client was our focus. Be present!)
  2. Building client relations is critical. (Teaching the correct mechanics of a forehand is important, but the chemistry with the client is equally important.)
  3. Having fun at work is fruitful. (Creating a positive work environment promotes effectiveness and productivity.)
~ Luanne Erdos,
Career Internship Director