The Portland High School internship program is going strong, and a real estate internship has become its most popular offering this year. PHS students are partnering with an experienced realtor to learn about the local real estate market and why it’s burgeoning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
One student in the internship said, “The real estate agent internship is a great way for me to learn about a new and fascinating career choice. I like learning about everything that goes into being an agent and the process of buying houses.”
Despite the ongoing challenges in keeping schools open due to the pandemic, the PHS internship is thriving. Dozens of students each year participate in the program, which was founded more than a decade ago. The program is open to all students and serves all types of students, as evidenced by demographic data on class rank, GPA, race, special education status and multilingual status.
Each year, one career pathway emerges as the most popular among students. Past popular internships have included veterinary medicine, nursing, and photography.
This year, many students are interested in real estate. Seven PHS students meet weekly with Heidi Nottonson, a seasoned realtor with Keller Williams Realty. Students learn about buying and selling homes, covering topics such as property disclosures, financing, inspections, and finding the right property. Nottonson has also arranged for field trips to properties to give students a hands-on feel of what it is like to work in real estate.
Nottonson offered this internship last year to one student and enjoyed it so much, she is now offering it to a group. Given the students’ interest, Nottonson hopes to expand her offering again next year. She wants to help students understand a way to create income for themselves.
Nottonson says, “The dedication of each student to learn at a fast and intense pace is astounding. They inspire me to teach them!”
Other current student internship sites include the Portland Jetport, Baird Financial, Avesta Housing, Boys and Girls Club, Food Fuels Learning, Portland Public Library art gallery, Mechanics Hall library, Rwanda Bean, Taylor Stitch, the Portland Chamber of Commerce, Tandem Bakery, The Cedars, and the University of Southern Maine engineering department.
To learn more about internships and extended learning opportunities, contact Maine Department of Education’s Extended Learning Coordinator Rick Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about Portland’s Program and to connect with Portland students, contact Andrea Levinsky, PHS Extended Learning Opportunities Coordinator, at email@example.com.