Sylvester Charles wants to become a clinical psychologist someday. At 19, the psychology major at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento hopes an internship can help pave the way.
"Everyone looks at the future as something far away," Charles, of Elk Grove, said. "But I want to start to do what I want to do as soon as possible."
Roseville executive Alexander Knight sought interns to help staff his solar technology startup. For him and Aerojet's Stacy Smith, who was scouting engineering students for the aerospace firm's internship programs, Tuesday was a good day.
The scene is one that's repeated often on college campuses across the country during the spring internship season employers recruiting new talent, sharing advice and offering opportunities for students looking to embark on their career journey.
But Tuesday's Internship Information Fair at Cosumnes River College was inspired by a new effort to bring businesses and colleges together to help students and graduates better prepare for the working world.
The internship fair was inspired by state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg's proposed legislation to increase career training and study through the Dropout Reduction and Workforce Development Bond Act.
The Democratic lawmaker's office sponsored Tuesday's job fair with Cosumnes River College.
Increasing internship opportunities are but one way to get students into the work force, said Deborah Travis, Cosumnes River president.
"It's important for (students) to have real-world experience turned into classroom experience," Travis said. The number of internships at CRC and the number of students seeking internships are both growing. "Internships give students a competitive edge over other applicants," Travis said.
That's what CRC business student Mike Newman is banking on. Newman, 30, recently relocated to Sacramento from Humboldt County, where job opportunities were scarce.
He dreams of starting a custom woodworking business someday, but with one semester left at CRC before transferring to a university, internships were on his mind.
"I'm looking for something that might be an opportunity, to get my foot in the door," he said.
Students and employers alike can see the benefits of internship, said Knight, chief operating officer of the Roseville solar technology firm Infinitrac. Students can make an early impression on prospective employers while companies such as Knight's can cultivate talented newcomers.
"There are high barriers to entry. It's a tough industry to get into and stay in. This industry is about reputation," Knight said. "We're new, (so) as far as students, what we hope to get out of it is young talent."
For Aerojet's Smith, internships help her find her company's next generation of employees.
"We get to see their hands-on work," Smith said. "We know what their ability is because we've seen them."
Call The Bee's Darrell Smith, (916) 321-1040.