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The beginning of the New Year seems like a good milestone to provide a progress update on the DrupalEasy Career Starter Program Work Experience (WE) Drupal. Eleven DCSP grads are interning with Drupal organizations all over the country, engaging their new-found Drupal knowledge and abilities in a variety of tasks, and gaining critical experience every day. Most of the interns are between one-third and one-half complete with their Work Experience, and reviews are super encouraging.
Some amazing organizations from far and wide stepped up to serve as WE Drupal Hosts, and help the eager 11 jumpstart their careeers, including the Drupal Association, Lullabot, WebEnabled, Radiant Blue Technologies, Cloud Nyne, Urban Rethink, Orange County Library System, Proctors, and DrupalEasy. Overall, the feedback from the hosts has been extremely positive, while the general reaction from the interns has been...overwhelming.
WE Drupal give host and intern a best of both worlds scenario, since it provides incentive and real-world, paid work experience for the participants while WE Drupal Hosts get no-cost, career-minded interns with solid Drupal training. We Drupal is made possible thanks to grant money from Brevard Workforce, which is also the organization that has supported the growth and development of the DCSP. As an added bonus, we were originally told the funds would cover 346 hours for each intern (about 8.5 weeks of full-time work), but Brevard Workforce has extended the grant to cover 520 hours (13 weeks!) Needless to say, the vast majority of our WE Drupal hosts and interns accepted this generous offer.
Our internship host companies are saying some really positive things about our students, their preparedness, and skill level. Once the initial transition from a traditional to a virtual work environment is complete, things tend to really start progressing quickly for both the student and the host. One vitally important thing we’ve learned over the past two years is that planned, daily contact - if only for a few minutes - between the intern and the host goes an incredibly long way in answering quick questions and making sure the intern stays on-track. I asked all of our current hosts if their interns met their initial reactions. Some responses:
"[Our intern] has a great attitude and as diving into the work head on. His base knowledge in Drupal is very solid, and probably most importantly, he asks great questions. You can tell that he understands the bigger picture and is going for clarification, or even questioning how we approach things, which is the best that anyone could ask for in an employee."
"Overall, I'm really impressed. [our intern] is basically kicking butt with everything we give him, and I can tell that as his experience grows he'll be a very rock solid Drupal guy."
"[Our intern] was well prepared. The student had enough knowledge of the ecosystem and various development tools to work with minimal instruction."
The reactions from the students varied from excitement to fear. Many are happy to be back to work and contributing to whatever projects they were working on, while also enjoying the ability to experience Drupal development in a real-world setting. A good number of the interns expressed feelings of being a bit overwhelmed by all of the various technologies and aspects of Drupal development, but all are rising to meet the challenge. The improved intern/host matching process appears to have been a success, as several of the interns indicated that they’re really thankful that they had a chance to talk with potential hosts prior to accepting the internship.
Some of the interns have started blogging about their experiences in the internships, I encourage you to check them out below:
What happened to the other 9 students?
If you’ve been following the DrupalEasy Career Starter Program (DCSP), you’ll know that we had 20 students in the classroom portion of the program. With 11 students currently participating in WE Drupal, I’m sure some of you are wondering what happened to the other 9? If you recall, this year’s class was comprised of recently laid-off workers living in Brevard County, Florida. 5 of the students found employment during the classroom portion of the DCSP, 1 student had to drop out of the internship for personal reasons, and 3 students did not initially meet the class requirements to be placed in an internship.
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