Experiential Learning Program (ELP)

Hannah Perez

Experiential Learning Program (ELP) is once again available to Hesperia Unified School District high school students. This program offers students internship opportunities in a variety of career fields available in Hesperia. Students interested in the program can contact Jennifer Hallett, a counselor at Sultana High School,  for the application, then turn in the completed application form to Hallett for further review and placement. 

“The program is designed to give students first-hand experience and knowledge in some different careers and fields that they might be interested in, so students are able to gain in-person field experience after they complete an application. Based on their interests, what they want to do, what they want to learn about, they are placed in a local company, or school, or business and have the ability to learn more about their desired field,” said Hallett.

 The program began around 2019, but had been shut down due to COVID-19 and is just now opening back up during the 2022-23 school year. Due to the shutting down of the program, the career selection has narrowed. Hallett said, “Right now, we have placement available in a local elementary school, at the district’s family resource center… however, we’re also working to partner students with other local businesses. So, we’re in the process of creating partnerships with other companies that are in the High Desert area. For instance, veterinarians, businesses, working with local government, working with local hospitals, anything that you can imagine, anything that you are interested in, they’re willing to go out there and find partnerships so that students can have opportunities.”

Corinne Welsh, Supervisor I of Educational Services at the Hesperia Unified School District (HUSD), said, Students who participate in the program will intern at their site of interest for approximately 20 hours. Students usually participate in internships at the partner site two times a week, for three to four hours at a time, for three to four weeks. Student usually participate in the program during school hours and may need to be at the partner site prior to the start of school or even after school. The student is responsible for transportation to and from the work-based learning partner site.” 

The application process, as described by Hallett, “…[is] almost like filling out a resume and a job application. After that, we verify grades and attendance; we’re looking for students that are on time, that are putting forth effort in the classroom… After the student’s application is complete, they will go through some soft skills training… Next, there’s an interview with someone from the district office, again just to verify the student’s interest and make sure that they are going to be a good fit for this partnership.”

Sarah Chatten, a junior at Sultana High School who participated in the ELP, added, “I definitely recommend this program to other students. The program has so many different career exploring options and it can give students a better idea of what they want to be. You can never truly understand how much you would actually enjoy a job unless you actually test out the job. It’s a lot of fun, and worth the time and effort!”