By Becky Mayad | Contributor

In true Alex Trebek fashion, Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere kicked off the 2020 Plano Mayor’s Summer Internship Program with a fast-paced Jeopardy-style “game show” as he rallied businesses of all sizes to “invest in our youth and build Plano’s future workforce.” Entering the seventh year, the “learn and earn” program provides teens with part-time and full-time paid summer positions at North Texas’ top companies and nonprofits. Mayor Harry hopes to recruit businesses—including small-, mid- and large-sized organizations—to provide at least 120 eight-week paid summer internships to qualifying sophomores and juniors who attend Plano public schools or reside in Plano. Students have until March 6 to apply, and businesses may sign up by April 1 at planomayorsinterns.org.

Combining the caliber of a nationally recognized school district with Plano’s vibrant business community, the program teaches teens the ins-and-outs of the professional workplace while providing connections to future employers. The internship program runs June 8-July 31, and students earn a minimum of $10 per hour working 20- to 40-hour weeks. Capital One, the founding sponsor of this initiative, is the presenting sponsor for the seventh year.

The launch was held at Plano ISD’s Shepton High School, were 10 intern alums who shared stories and know-how from their invaluable internships. After sponsors delivered a few remarks sharing their support for the program, Mayor LaRosiliere thanked them and then introduced the “Plano Mayor’s Intern Jeopardy” game to test their knowledge and show how the program prepares students for professional careers. 

“This program is a win all the way around for our interns, employers, and city,” said Mayor LaRosiliere. “Students benefit from exposure from our innovative business community, where they learn essential workforce skills, create valuable contacts and get the sense of being part of a team that’s doing big things. In turn, our companies and nonprofits gain from the students’ energy, determination, curiosity, and creativity.  We are beyond grateful to our partners and to Plano ISD for paving the way for our youth and empowering our future workforce.”

Over its seven-year history, the Plano Mayor’s Summer Internship Program has more than tripled in size—growing from 37 interns in 2014 to 119 interns in 2019. The program is open to public school students who attend Plano high schools or reside in Plano. A large number of past interns have gone on to be first-generation college students.

“Interns engage in real-life experiences that enhance their classroom experiences and help make them life ready,” said Plano ISD Superintendent Sara Bonser. “They contribute to exciting projects, learn about company operations, network with managers and executives and are introduced to an array of careers. As employers connect with their future workforce, they’re laying the groundwork for these bright young people to go on to college and return to Plano to begin their dream jobs.”

“At Capital One, we are passionate about ensuring that our region remains vibrant and future-ready,” said Sanjiv Yajnik, President of Capital One Financial Services. “This is a team sport, and our entire region can benefit from businesses working together for the good of our community. We invite all local business leaders to connect up with some of our most promising young leaders through the Plano Mayor’s Summer Internship Program.”

In addition to presenting sponsor Capital OneJPMorgan Chase is the Job Fair sponsor (they also are underwriting 20 interns in the technology and healthcare industries and the nonprofit arena). The Boeing Company is the Internship Enrichment and Training sponsor, and NTT Data is the sponsor of the Community Service Day. Other program sponsors are AT&T, Bank of America, City of Plano, Kroger, Liberty Mutual, Oncor, Plano ISD, and Granite Properties.

Businesses may underwrite an intern at a nonprofit or government agency, or become a program sponsor. Interns work 20 to 40 hours weekly at a minimum of $10 per hour. Companies pay a $500 program fee for each intern that covers the various training and enrichment activities, the Job Fair, and the luncheon ticket.

Students can apply now through March 6 at planomayorsinterns.org.

To qualify, students must complete an online application, which includes a short essay. Additionally, they must be a public school sophomore or junior who attends a Plano high school or resides in Plano. They must have a 3.0 GPA (minimum); be 16 years of age by June 8, 2020; and be eligible to work in the United States.

Students must also attend Internship Prep training on March 28, which focuses on resume development and interviewing, business communication, professional dress, and personal goal planning. Once requirements are met, employers will interview intern candidates at the highly competitive Job Fair on April 24, from 3-7 p.m. at Collin College’s Spring Creek Campus Conference Center. Selected students will receive a formal job offer in May. If chosen, students will then complete an additional two days of Intern Training and Enrichment on June 3-4, when business soft skills, networking, teambuilding and work-readiness topics will be addressed. The year culminates with Mayor LaRosiliere hosting a luncheon honoring the interns and employers on Monday, July 27, at the Hilton Granite Park.

Details and the online application are available at planomayorsinterns.org. For questions regarding student applications, contact Mary Peltier at mary.peltier@vwaitgroup.com. Interested companies may contact Vicki Wait at vicki@vwaitgroup.com. 

For more information, go to planomayorsinterns.org

Photo Credit: James Edward

Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere and intern alums Alejandra Bernal, Julian Jaramillo and Neha Jayarajan playing Jeopardy


Intern alums join Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere for “Plano Mayor’s Intern Jeopardy”


Tim Mullins, Vice President, National Sales, Capital One Financial Services,
Capital One


Avia Revills, Jacob Roy


Jacob Roy, Plano East High School junior and intern alum, delivers remarks


Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere; Theresa Williams, chief operating officer, Plano ISD; Jeff Banner, principal, Shepton High School; and Plano ISD Superintendent Sara Bonser


PMSIP interns Manasi Gummaraju, Jacob Roy, Krisha Aswani, Michael Lam, Sydni Rachel, Alejandra Bernal, Avia Revills, Edward Benitez, Neha Jayarajan, Julian Jaramillo


Shepton High School Stallionettes greet guests as they arrive/check in