Osan internships prep OMHS students for their next-step

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Trevor Gordnier
  • 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Military children face a unique challenge while living on overseas military instillations. For many juniors and seniors attending Osan Middle High School, the available entry level jobs afforded to them are limited compared to those found in the United States. Entry level jobs serve as a preparatory doorway into the post high school working world. With this problem a bigger question rises – how can the OMHS faculty best prepare and equip their military students to enter the workforce?


Luckily Bridget Heffele, the OMHS Continuous School Improvement chair and Career Practicum coordinator, has an answer – the OMHS Career Practicum Program. 


“We’ve really been working hard to implement the program over the past two year,” said Bridget Heffele, “The OMHS Career Practicum Program has provided more than 50 students an opportunity to develop their overall job readiness skills, while being inspired by and mentored in various career fields across the base.”


The program is open to OMHS juniors and seniors. These students are able to select from a list of available intern job positions from across the base and learn skills not usually taught and provided in normal school curriculum. Students are given time throughout the school year to work with these units to better understand their job of choice and best prepare for the workforce.


Some Osan organizations that have assisted with the Career Practicum Program include the 51st Medical Group, 51st Civil Engineering Squadron, 51st Operations Group, 51st Communications Squadron and the 51st Public Affairs Wing Staff Agency.


“I wanted to have the experience of working in an office that would be similar to something I would actually do in the future,” said Xoie James, an OMHS senior student, who participated in the spring iteration of the 2022 Career Practicum Program, “I wanted to be able to see how adults in public relations really work, which you don’t really get from school.”


Through this program, students are able to gain real world know-how and hands-on training, both beneficial before entering the workforce. 


“One of the biggest take-aways I’ve noticed among the students is how much communication is required for the working world,” said Heffele. “For example, just sending an email or a text to let their boss know they won’t be there that day goes a long way, and students are able to learn that through the program. Not everyone at that age is used to that level of accountability, which makes this experience all the more beneficial for their preparation.”


At the end of the year, students are encouraged to reflect on their time in the program and discuss with other students, who also participated in the program, key learning moments they experienced throughout their internship.


“They’re typically a bit shy when they get into a working environment with adults,” said Heffele. “It takes them time to get acclimated before realizing it is ok to ask questions and jump in and take the initiative.”


Experience, perspective and confidence are key assets the OMHS Career Practicum Program equips students with before they graduate and embark on their post high school endeavors.