LTAC seniors receive half-day internship opportunity

By Roman Treuthart

Six years of finals. Three different principals. Only one senior year. When senior year finally comes around, almost all former LTAC students have fulfilled their graduation requirements. Many are ready to graduate, and some choose to graduate early.

For those who do not graduate early, there is an opportunity during their senior year to get out of the building and gain experience beyond the classroom, while not fully graduating.

Urban Alliance, a company that provides a year-long internship to high school students, is working with Lane to give former LTAC students a unique opportunity.

The company has partnered with Lane to give students access to a half-day internship during the school year. Students will spend the first half of the day taking classes at Lane, then travel to the internship to work in the afternoon.

Urban Alliance’s goal is “to give youth access to professional growth and experiences.” This growth and experience is fostered through Urban Alliance’s high school internship program. Students who participate are given the opportunity to intern at one of many of Urban Alliance’s partners. These partners, mostly financial institutions, law firms, and technical companies, pay students to work. Some current partners include AT&T, Chicago Bulls, Bank of America, and LinkedIn.

The program prepares students for a life of work and self-sufficiency, according to At the start of the internship, each student is assigned their own mentor at the company who tracks their progress and work efficiency. Even though interns will not be in class, they will still receive a grade on their work. They receive regular credit for three classes.

Most workplaces are in downtown Chicago. The interns will work from 1:00-6:00 p.m. on most days. Interns’ wages start at $10.50/hour and may rise to $12.50/hour by the summer.

At the informational meeting on April 27, Jeremy Ly, Program Director at Urban Alliance, said that due to these hours, interns will not be able to participate in any after school activities.

“It’s a really great experience, it builds your network,” Ly said. “But you’re making a sacrifice.” Since many Lane students participate in an afterschool activity of some sort, the work hours may prevent them from participating in the internship.

Aidan Lallas, Div. 879, a former LTAC student and member of the sailing team, said the commitment level is too high for her.

“I definitely would have considered it more if it was three days a week instead of five,” Lallas said. For her, the five day per week commitment required her to sacrifice time spent participating in other meaningful activities, such as the rowing team.

In addition to these working hours, interns are allowed eight days to miss during the program, which runs from mid-September to July 31. These include sick days and vacation days, and are factored into the students’ attendance rates.

Although these attendance policies may deter some students from participating in the internship, Mr. Bell, an assistant principal at Lane, thinks the program could be very beneficial to those who choose to participate. Bell, who set up the informational meeting with Ly, said the real life working experience is key to future success.

“The biggest benefit is real life work experience, whether it be in a field they’re actually going to pursue after college or not,” Bell said.

When asked what advice he has for students who are hesitating to do the internship, Bell said students must ask themselves, “Does the money and experience outweigh the benefits of being on a school team?” Bell said that students are forced to make a very adult decision in high school.

Total earnings could amount to $7000 by the end of the program, Ly said.

Although she is not going to participate, Lallas said this is a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” “You can never have this opportunity again, as a high school student, especially since you have to be a senior,” Lallas said.