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Inspiring Minds internships lead to jobs for young adults

Staff photo / Raymond L. Smith Haley Davies, 23, has been hired as a probation officer at the Warren Municipal Court. She initially was hired as an intern with Inspiring Minds Summer Career Development Program, working her way into the probation position. Davies eventually wants to become a U.S. Marshal.

WARREN — For Haley Davies, becoming a probation officer in Warren Municipal Court through the Inspiring Minds Summer Career Development Program has been a life-changing experience.

It was not something the 23-year-old Leavittsburg resident expected to do, but when the opportunity arose to work in the city’s courts, she eagerly accepted it. Especially because, eventually, Davies plans on becoming a U.S. Marshal.

This has been an important steppingstone for her to accomplish her dreams.

Davies was provided an internship in the municipal courts four years ago, shortly after learning about Inspiring Minds from Jordan Wilkins, a fellow student she met while attending Kent State University.

“Inspiring Minds helped to teach me some basic financial skills, how to dress for interviews and resume-writing skills,” Davies said. “We did not learn these skills while in high school.”

She has worked with Judges Terry Ivanchak and Thomas Gysegem, as well as in different offices in Warren’s Clerk of Courts office.

“I was asked by the clerk of court to come back the next year,” she said.

Having an African-American woman working as a probation officer sometimes helps to calm the nerves of some people coming through the court because they feel they will be listened to by someone who looks like them, Davies said.

Davies plans on beginning her police academy training later this year.

LOOKING FOR MORE

Inspiring Minds is looking for businesses and companies to provide summer internships for area high school seniors and college students that will provide work experience in career fields of interest.

The four-year-old program provides eight- to 12-week summer internships designed to provide experiences in careers and provide companies a diverse population of job candidates from the region, according to Wilkins, who now is the transition coordinator of Inspiring Minds Summer Career Development Program.

Most of the young people participating in the program have been working with Inspiring Minds for several years, but, a few, like Davies, began working the internship program after hearing about it through acquaintances.

Inspiring Minds is an organization based in Youngstown that was started in 2005 by Deryck Toles. It provides free after-school and summer programming to more than 500 kindergarten through 12th-grade students annually in multiple cities around the country.

Year-round programming focuses on five areas: education, college and career readiness, exposure to new experiences, health and wellness and personal development.

“We have 25 people whom we would like to place in internships,” said Wilkins, who also coordinates the internship program. “We have worked with 15 companies and organizations that have provided internships in the past and now have 12 committed to provide internships this summer. We need 13 more companies.”

INVESTMENT

Wilkins suggests providing these internships are an investment in the area’s future because it will slow the “brain drain” of talented young people growing up here and leaving the area because they cannot find opportunities.

Internships range from students working in business offices, health care administration, public schools and higher education institutions, banking and communication companies.

Providing opportunities for young people to stay in the area is something Warren Mayor Doug Franklin endorses.

“From my standpoint, looking at the graduation rate of this area, we are probably No. 1 in exporting intellectual capital,” Franklin said. “Having a program like this stops the brain drain. We will be able to keep young people who want to stay.

“Local companies providing internships are able to get trained talent at marginal costs,” he said. “Inspiring Minds’ management team handles the human resources aspect, so they don’t have to worry about those issues.”

Angela Massacci, who manages the perioperative nursing program at St. Joseph Warren Hospital, has had several interns from Inspiring Minds work there.

“I love what Deryck Toles is doing with young people,” Massacci said. “I applied for and received a grant from the Mercy Health Foundation, so I would be able to pay the interns.

“Through this program, we offer interns exposure to the health care industry so they can decide if this is really what they want to do,” she said.

Massacci expressed concerned that the heath care industry is lacking in diversity, so this program can introduce more young people.

Celeste Harris, 20, who has been working with Inspiring Minds since she was in the seventh grade, was one of the first to participate in the summer internship program. Attending Howard University’s nursing school in Washington, D.C., the Warren G. Harding graduate also has been an intern at St. Joe’s every summer when she returns home.

“This has allowed me to see what nurses do every day,” she said. “I’ve been able to see the administrative work and working with patients.”

The internship has made Harris confident she made the right decision to become a labor and delivery nurse.

“It is a job that has its ups and downs,” Harris said. “There is a joy helping people when they are hurt.”

Companies that are interested in providing internships can contact Wilkins at future@imwarren.org or call 330-469-6729.

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