Internship program benefits minorities

By Sandra Masibay

Last Thurday, the Organization of Latino American Students (OLAS) brought Inroads representative Lorenzo Sanchez, to its weekly meeting to discuss the benefits of the program.

Inroads is an internship program that was developed 23 years ago to help minority students get a foot in the door and to develop and maintain business and communication skills necessary within the workplace.

Inroads encourages early student participation in the program. This allows the participating company an opportunity to evaluate and coach the student while developing a strong working relationship prior to the student’s graduation.

Freshmen, sophomores and juniors at the university level are encouraged to apply. High school students also are eligible.

The criteria to be an Inroads intern is tough, but the benefits are ample.

To be an Inroads intern, the student must plan to attend or be attending a designated four-year college. The applicant must have a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale and must have had an ACT score of 21 or better.

Personal attributes, academic and extracurricular activities along with an applicant’s work history, are all taken into consideration.

An Inroads intern is expected to maintain a 3.0 GPA in his or her major and a 2.7 cumulative GPA. The intern must attend all Inroads training sessions and must go through an evaluation process.

The participant also must do some kind of community service, pay a yearly $100 student participation fee and submit grades each semester.

Some students who were at the OLAS meeting also were Inroads interns and shared descriptions of their internship experiences with fellow students.

Elizabeth Jaquez, OLAS president and Inroads intern said, “We have all had summer jobs but it doesn’t compare to an internship in a Fortune 500 company. Not only do you look like a professional, you have to act like a professional.”

Jaquez was an Inroads intern who received a starting salary of $10 an hour last summer.

Martin Cabrera is a senior who has been involved with the program for the past four years. Last summer, Cabrera was an intern at Chubb Insurance.

Along with access to a company car, Cabrera received experience he could not have attained in the classroom, he said.

“(Inroads) is like a family. You become very close. I attended weekend conferences and dances, it was fun. Also, you are being allowed into a top market. You network—are given resources. It is a good feeling,” Cabrera said.

Inroads is not restricted to OLAS members but was hosted by the organization at last Thursday’s meeting. For more information, contact the OLAS office at 753-1986.