Picking PIC: The Inside Scoop on Being a Summer Intern

 As college semesters and high school careers came to an end in May, a mix of graduates and students came together to be a part of Private Industry Council (PIC) as summer interns. With their diverse backgrounds and experiences, the interns brought a variety of skills to the table that allowed them to work as a team to provide the best programs and services to PIC clients.
Each PIC intern was assigned an important role in youth programming. Summer interns hold various responsibilities such as being worksite supervisors or field workers for the summer youth program, working in the IT Department, doing clerical work at the offices, or directing the STEM camps. This year’s interns included Carly Heider and John Malone, recent college graduates; Leah Glasbrenner, Allison Means, Hannah Spinetti, Denni Claycomb, RJ Reinhard, Brianna Sokol, and Natalie Artman, all current college students, and Rebekah Junk and Jimmy Malone, recent high school graduates. Each intern joined PIC for the summer for different reasons. For quite a few of the interns who are pursuing careers in the field of education the internship provided valuable experience for the future.
“As a field worker for the youth program, I was able to work directly with middle school students at three day camps, and I was able to help high school students enrolled in the work experience program achieve their goals,” says Carly Heider. “The internship allowed me to gain more organization, communication, and planning skills that will help me as a future teacher.”
Likewise, Leah Glasbrenner states, “I like my job [at PIC] because it is really rewarding. Many of the youth in our program face obstacles that hinder their ability to achieve their goals, and it is awesome knowing when I have helped someone.”
Both Heider and Glasbrenner, and the other interns, worked primarily with the summer youth work experience program that PIC provides annually. While learning organization and communication skills, the interns are responsible for managing files, leading work-site and youth orientations, monitoring worksites, and mentoring the youth. Leah Glasbrenner says that all of these responsibilities provide “real-life experience with problem solving and thinking on [your] feet” as well as “learning how to multitask, prioritize, and communicate effectively with others.”
Denni Claycomb’s internship was as a field worker. Her role allowed her to travel to various work sites as a supervisor, promoting the summer youth programs, instructing kids of varying age levels at the STEM camps, and helping out with PIC programs at the YMCA in Uniontown.
 “My favorite part of [being an intern] was making memories with the other interns and meeting the kids from the STEM camps,” she says. “I really appreciate the opportunity to work at PIC, and everyone from the Greensburg and Lemont Furnace offices as well as the Uniontown YMCA.”
Other field workers for PIC this summer have had similar experiences. Allison Means (a worksite supervisor), for example, says that one of the best parts of the internship was all of the different ways to be involved and help people in the communities that PIC serves. “Not only was I able to work with children for part of the summer,” she explains, “but I was also able to assist families in need at my specific worksite and work side by side with other professionals.”
Another summer intern, Brianna Sokol, had a different experience. She was assigned to the I.T. Department to gain more experience for her college minor of computer sciences. She worked alongside Dave Shimek, who is the IT Supervisor for PIC. PIC gave Brianna the ability to learn how to work with different software and become more acquainted with computer equipment. She learned day-to-day skills like troubleshooting errors, solving unexpected problems, and understanding the inner-workings of different technologies.
Overall, the Private Industry Council offers a unique internship that allows young adults the chance to learn valuable job skills and gain new experiences for the future. The interns at PIC perform important functions in programs like the summer youth work experience program, youth STEM camps, as well as working alongside staff in other departments. They learned how to communicate, collaborate, and problem solve in real-world situations. They had the opportunity to network with many community employers, agencies, parents, and youth and had a strong impact on all of the people that they served. The outcomes that the PIC interns experienced are fulfilling and it makes each day worth all of their hard work. Suzi Bloom and Deborah Cohen, who both supervised and worked closely with the summer interns, agreed that this summer would not have been as successful without the PIC interns. This year’s summer interns were extremely grateful for the opportunity at PIC and encourage other high school graduates or college students to be a part of the wonderful team next year.

BREAKING NEWS...

PIC is excited to announce its DADS MATTER Project launch in Fayette, Washington, and Westmoreland Counties on July 1, 2016!

 

DADS MATTER is a responsible fatherhood program designed to support DADS in resolving barriers that impact their abilities to be actively involved with their children. The program will meet the goals of improved family dynamics, increased DAD and child well-being, increased economic stability and mobility, and reduced recidivism among reentering DADS from the justice system. PIC will serve 1,060 DADS over the next 5 years.

 

Target populations include:

  • DADS with children up to age 24

  • DADS who are living in poverty or at-risk of poverty

  • DADS who are under and unemployed

  • DADS involved in the juvenile justice or criminal justice system

  • DADS reentering communities after incarceration

  • Teen DADS

  • Military and Veteran DADS

     

An Individualized Education Employment Plan (IEEP) will be developed by each DAD with the assistance and continuous support of the DADS MATTER Team. This approach will connect DADS to services and activities which are evidence-based models that will result in direct benefits to their children, improve the status of DADS both economically & socially and offer DADS other supportive services. The supportive services to be offered by community partners include: substance abuse treatment, mental health counseling, domestic violence services, and other ancillary supports.

PIC’s retention plan for DADS includes the use of stipends, incentives, certificates, and recognition of progress. Numerous strategies will be utilized to keep DADS engaged and motivated.

PIC’s past experience as a Responsible Fatherhood Grantee, knowledge and expertise from collaborative partners, and strong presence in the community for more than 32 years are key elements for the success of this DADS MATTER Project!

For more information please call our DADS MATTER team in Greensburg at 724-836-2600.

The Private Industry Council is Growing

The Private Industry Council of Westmoreland/Fayette, Inc. (PIC) recently promoted Amy Dodds to the position of Planner/Grants Writer and hired L. Michelle Ferguson as the Fatherhood Initiative Program Supervisor.

 

Dodds embraces the core values of PIC mission by meeting the needs of employers, identifying and removing barriers to employment and a commitment to lifelong learning. Dodds with the support of the Directors will be charged with growing the three main divisions of PIC: Workforce Development, Education, and Early Childhood Development while maintaining the integrity of PIC’s mission. With her vision for evolution and advancement she will research and secure opportunities for sustained funding. 

 

Dodds began her career with PIC in March, 2012 as a Youth Specialist. In this position Dodds managed and developed programming used in Afterschool and Summer Programs in Westmoreland and Fayette Counties. Due to the success of these programs she was promoted to the Job Coaching Coordinator. In that role she positively impacted the lives of those with cognitive or physical disabilities while helping them find and retain competitive employment.

  

Dodds holds a Masters in Science in Curriculum and Instruction from St. Vincent College, Latrobe, Pennsylvania.

Read more: The Private Industry Council is Growing

Senior Volunteers Honored at Second Annual Foster Grandparent Recognition Luncheon

Private Industry Council’s (PIC) second annual Foster Grandparent Program Recognition Event and was held at the Hilton Garden Inn, Southpointe, PA on Friday, May 20, 2016.  The event recognized, honored, and expressed gratitude to the many Foster Grandparent Volunteers for their effort, loyalty, and dedication to the Foster Grandparent program (FGP).  The theme this year was “A Helping Hand Volunteers Make the Difference.

The recognition luncheon played background music from the 60’s & 70’s while a PowerPoint presentation showed photos of the Foster Grandparent volunteers serving the children they foster. A testimonial by volunteers on the impact the children have on them was highlighted. A performance from Pittsburgh’s Family Magician, Al Mazing took place prior to the awards ceremony. Awards were given to Foster Grandparent Volunteers in 4 categories:

The Apple Award was given to the volunteer who has accrued the most volunteer hours for the 2015-2016 year.  Lexi McLeod was presented this award having volunteered a total of 1,146 hours at Clairton Elementary School. 

The Community Advisory Group Award was presented to Angela Greco based on the teacher testimonials of the volunteer’s effort and dedication in the Foster Grandparent Program. Mrs. Kimberly A. Long a teacher at Ringgold Elementary School said: “She (Angela Greco) is not only a valuable asset to our classroom academically, she is a ‘Grandma’ to our kids who have none and a caring ear when a child needs someone to listen and hear!”

The Keep Moving Award was inspired by Ms. Virginia McLaurin, who is a 107 year old volunteer serving in Virginia.  The recipient of this award is the oldest serving volunteer in the Foster Grandparent Program of Southwestern PA, Susan Hunter. She volunteers at Ringgold Elementary School South.
 
The Senior Corps of Southwestern PA Legacy Award was presented to Jayce Catt. Catt was nominated by her volunteer station, Children’s Creative Learning Center at Butler County Community College for her passion for public service, helping others and a demonstrated commitment toward enhancing the community and others. Judy Zuzack, her supervisor was quoted:  “Joyce has been our Foster Grandparent for 6 years now.  When she enters the classroom, all the children stop what they are doing and greet her in unison, “Good morning, Grandma Catt”! She often wears cat jewelry or wears cats on her clothing, which shows her sense of humor.”  Zuzack observes Catt encouraging the children to try new food and to be healthy eaters and engages them in conversation about their families and interests. Catt has been seen laughing at their jokes and lets each child know that they are very special.

Certificates of appreciation were also presented by local elected officials. Washington County Commissioner Diana Irey Vaughn presented certificates of appreciation to the volunteers who reside in Washington County. Certificates were presented to volunteers who reside in the city of Butler from the Office of Mayor Thomas P. Donaldson. On behalf of Mayor Dwan Walker, the Aliquippa City Manager, Sam Gill presented “One Aliquippa” certificates to the volunteers who reside in Aliquippa.

The event ended with an array of door prizes.             

 

Sherri Taylor Awarded Francine Bunch Memorial Parent Award

Sherri Taylor Awarded Francine Bunch Memorial Parent Award

 

The Private Industry Council of Westmoreland/Fayette, Inc. (PIC) and the Head Start/Early Head Start of Fayette County program are proud to announce that Sherri Taylor has received the Francine Bunch Memorial Parent Award for the Pennsylvania Head Start Association (PHSA). This award ceremony took place in early April at the Annual Awards Luncheon at the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center, State College.                                     

 

Each year the PSHA honors one parent who epitomizes the characteristics of Francine Bunch. Francine Bunch was an active Head Start parent who recognized the importance of continuing education and giving back to the community.

 

Read more: Sherri Taylor Awarded Francine Bunch Memorial Parent Award