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Businesses briefed on intern program

January 14, 2009|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- Frederick County officials are offering an internship program in an effort to prepare high school students for the day they enter the work force, said David W. Markoe, executive director of the Frederick County Business Roundtable for Education.

Markoe said Wednesday during an Eggs and Issues Breakfast in downtown Hagerstown that his organization used sponsorships and membership fees last year to raise $100,000, in part, to provide internships for high school students.

About 70 people attended the event sponsored by the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce.

"Our goal is to be able to raise $500,000 so we can provide those kinds of experiences and resources to help the school system help the business community develop a better and stronger work force," Markoe said. "... We're trying to raise education expectations for students."

The internships place students into a hands-on environment that helps them stay current with the continual changes in technology, Markoe said. In most cases, the students earn about $8 an hour.

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Markoe said the roundtable recently was created at Fort Detrick in Frederick, Md., with the goal to help train a qualified work force that will be needed in the near future. Despite the job loss that is associated with the current recession, about 1,400 new jobs are expected to be available at Fort Detrick by 2012, he said.

Those positions will include, among other things, hi-tech science and support jobs, he said.

Members of the roundtable are trying to teach students early on about the main skills sought by employers, including integrity, dependability and resourcefulness, Markoe said.

Some of the roundtable's future goals include involving more people in the business community and raising additional money so the internship program can support more students, Markoe said.

He encouraged Washington County officials to create an internship program as well.

Donna Brightman, a member of the Washington County Board of Education, said the school system has enjoyed a partnership with the local business community for a number of years.

"We want to improve that relationship," she said. "(Markoe's) presentation will start a buzz with the business community. We're very open with that partnership."

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