Since the City Council adopted the goal of supporting and engaging Evanston youth, efforts have increased at the City to employ and mentor our youth, as have efforts to encourage Evanston residents and businesses to follow suit.

The Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment program will be held pn April 21, but fewer than 200 jobs will be available. This strained economy may not allow businesses, particularly small ones, to create an extra, three-month job. But even small businesses can contribute in small ways by configuring summer internships with the student in mind.

Many high school and college students have to work somewhere and spend time with their family; most want to spend time, too, with their friends. A flexible work schedule can accommodate this.

An internship is a contract between the student and the business: The student helps with some of the lower-level but necessary work in exchange for learning as much as possible about the many aspects of company.

An internship is not quite Business 101 – more like preparation for the course than the course itself. It is an opportunity to learn the purpose, philosophy and rudiments of the business and to understand what education and other preparation are necessary to hold a certain job.

It has been our experience at the RoundTable that interns are eager to learn and to take on additional responsibility. They will also need tending: supervision, explanations and mentoring, as examples. For the supervisor, it is an opportunity to revisit all those things and to look at one’s own work with new eyes.