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High School Grads Gain Hands-On Experience as FirstEnergy Interns

Allison Monyak is one of eight high school grads participating in FirstEnergy’s summer internship program.
Allison Monyak is one of eight high school grads participating in FirstEnergy’s summer internship program.

Nearly a dozen high school grads from northeast Ohio are in the home stretch of their summer internships at FirstEnergy, an eight-week experience that has introduced them to career opportunities within the electric utility industry.

“The high school internship program is designed to introduce young students to careers at FirstEnergy, with hopes they will progress through the company’s college internship program and ultimately secure full-time jobs with the company after college,” said Ted McQuain, who leads the college recruiting program at FirstEnergy.

The selection process was competitive, as more than two dozen students from Polaris Career Center in Cleveland and the All-Akron Student Engineering Program submitted essays and delivered presentations before eight finalists were interviewed and hired by FirstEnergy employees.

The interns gained hands-on industry experience working alongside FirstEnergy’s transmission employees and participating in project-based learning both in and out of the office at various job sites. Students shadowed transmission and substation employees and explored many areas of the company – ranging from maintenance and lab testing to equipment troubleshooting and regulatory compliance.

“With a competitive environment in competing for top engineering talent at the college and experienced levels, this program provides us the opportunity to engage with a diverse pool of candidates that can start our pipeline even sooner,” said McQuain.

Among this year’s internship class is soon-to-be University of Akron freshman Allison Monyak, who plans to major in computer or civil engineering this fall.

Monyak, of Strongsville, participated in a four-year engineering course at Polaris Career Center, where she was introduced to FirstEnergy’s internship program by an employee who spoke to her class about the various career opportunities the company has to offer.

“One of my favorite aspects of my FirstEnergy internship is being able to learn about the different parts of the business and see how they all work together,” said Monyak. “I never realized how much behind-the-scenes work went into being able to have power when you turn on a light switch and it’s been great to be a part of that process this summer.”

From a young age, Monyak has enjoyed building structures and testing their stability using different formulas. While her experience at FirstEnergy has reaffirmed her decision to pursue a degree in engineering, she said it also has opened her eyes to different career paths within engineering, like marketing.

“I’ve met so many amazing people during my internship and I’m having a lot of fun learning things I never would have learned in a classroom alone,” she said. “I definitely feel like it’s prepared me for college and made me more confident in my decision to become an engineer.”

Monyak and her peers will wrap up their internships on Friday, Aug. 16, before they head off to college later this month.

FirstEnergy’s high school internship program started last year, and is currently open to Polaris Career Center students and Akron-area students who participate in the All-Akron Student Engineering Program. For more information about the company’s internship and career opportunities, click here.

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