How Rhode Island Students are Jumpstarting Their Careers

By Sara Porcaro | Nov 4, 2021
Paid Internship, Disabilities, Rhode Island, Workforce Crisis, Stability, Career, College
Perspectives HR Recruiter Meghan Judd

It's November already, and for college students across America, the midterms have come and gone. As they race for the end of the semester, however, with the holiday season now in full swing, there comes not just a question of what classes to take next semester, but also how to best prepare for the start of their careers post-graduation. Even at the start of their academic careers, they've got a forward eye on the future--and no matter their major, they're looking for places to apply their knowledge and gain real world experience. One of those places is Perspectives--and with new interns coming aboard this fall, we're excited to work with them as they continue developing their career with us!
Throughout recent years, Perspectives has created their internship program to support young professionals who are working towards careers in human services and other industries that make up private agencies around the state. The agency has a long track record of supporting their existing professionals in growing in their careers--rising from entry level positions to places of leadership, all while receiving support from their team members who have taken similar career paths--and the chance to continue doing so for college students was therefore a natural step. Perspectives has taken on interns for several semesters now, whether as part of students' required coursework or as part of initiatives like Skills for Rhode Island's Future's PrepareRI program; we're glad to work with such talented students, and to show them the career possibilities that are out there for them to explore.
"There are so many benefits of doing an internship," says HR Recruiter Meghan Judd. "Interns gain real life experience, grow their network, learn from supervisors who have been in their shoes before, and most importantly, they can get a better idea of what they really want to do. Maybe working at a place like Perspectives isn't what they want to do--or maybe it is. You can only really know when you do the work and experience the environment firsthand."

New Interns on the Scene

For an agency like Perspectives, where our mission is centered around supporting individuals with disabilities to live lives they love, it's no surprise that a majority of interns looking to gain experience from our teams are ones who are looking to turn their need to make a difference into a sustainable career, too. One intern coming aboard this semester, Allison, studying psychology and sociology at Providence College, came aboard this semester after finding Perspectives' internship opportunities on Handshake--a platform much like LinkedIn that helps students connect with internships, part-time work, and other career-building opportunities. While Allison has had experience working with children and in Direct Support Professional roles before, this is her first time doing a paid, hands-on internship, working with children in a clinical setting, and she's ready to learn everything she can from the experience.
" You can only really know [what you want to do] when you do the work and experience the environment firsthand."
"I'm not sure exactly what I want to do yet, but I know I want to help," says Allison, "and that I love working with kids. So far, the team I'm with at Perspectives has been so supportive and helpful, and I'm so eager to jump in and learn all I can from them."

Permanent Opportunities After the Internship

And with these internships also comes the ability to transition into a permanent position with the agency. Several interns have already joined their teams full time, finding that the work they do is not only helpful to their studies, but genuinely something they enjoy--and with Perspectives' wide range of professionals, there's a place for all kinds of different talent. Jayro, for instance, a student of computer science and cybersecurity at the University of Rhode Island, completed his internship in the summer and came aboard Perspectives' IT Department as a part time IT Support Specialist. He works three days a week while completing his degree, giving him the work experience, competitive pay, and flexibility he needs to kick-start his career before graduation. Jayro has his sights on being a Systems Administrator one day--but in this starting role, he's happy to be part of a hard-working team and come into a friendly, welcoming office environment each day.
"I'm so blessed to have this opportunity; it's really taken the pressure off in terms of finding a job after college, and I'm able to learn so much on the job while also finishing my degree," Jayro explains. "It's also really cool that I work at a place [like Perspectives] that makes a difference in others' lives. It makes it feel good to work here, especially since everyone is so passionate about what they do."
Jayro has also gone on to convince four of his other friends to shoot for internships, as he believes in their ability to help young professionals get started in their networking and work experience. Now, with our new interns like Allison joining the team, we're excited to get to know a host of new professionals and help them explore their passions--and with our HR Department working hard to get the word out and meet with students, there'll always be more opportunities for students across RI to come join the team. There are many ways to get a head start in your career while still in college, and Perspectives is proud to be able to provide a place where young professionals can grow, learn, and succeed!


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