CTE Summer Internship Program


Internships are a powerful form of work-based learning involving meaningful work with responsibility and accountability. An internship should challenge the student to apply and build on their academic, technical and employability skills. Internships are more than an employment opportunity for students; they are highly structured learning programs where workplace supervisors are responsible for student development and workplace performance. Balancing this dynamic is what transforms entry-level work into a stepping stone for student career development.

The CTE Internship Process


How are students selected?

CTE programs are delivered over a three year continuum from sophomore to senior year. Internships target the summer after Junior year. The internship marks the transition from a highly structured classroom to an independent workplace.

CTE teachers rate their students as “Work-Ready” which is a recommendation of a student being able to independently engage in a professional work setting. Of the students that are considered work-ready, CTE Partnership Development Liaisons (PDLs) work to match students to companies who sign up. PDLs take the following into consideration when matching:

  • student pathway and academic status
  • applying organizations’ mission and services
  • and where students are in proximity to companies.

Working with the students and the CTE teacher to gauge interest in positions, PDLs make a final match between a company and a student and send an offer to the student.

Work-Readiness Criteria

So what does it mean for a student to be “Work-Ready”?  Work-Ready CTE students meet the criteria of ALL of the following areas:

Criteria Definition
Appearance Wears neat, clean, and appropriate clothes that are required/expected by the school, work, and/or afterschool program.
Timeliness Attends school and class without excessive absences, attends on time and starts activities promptly.
Appropriate Language Speaks to authority without profanity or excessive slang.
Attitude Generally positive, participates willingly, and accepts feedback from teacher respectfully.
Accountability/ Integrity Takes responsibility for their actions and decisions and makes effort to keep their word on their promises to the teacher and completing assignments on time. Does not blame others when things are his/her fault.
Self-Control Does not have physical or verbal outbursts either in class or in school.
Supervision Student can work without his/her teacher or supervisor watching over them.

What does the student need to complete before the internship?

The CTE Internship Program is a part of the Mayor’s summer jobs initiative called One Summer Chicago and payrolled through Chicago Public Schools. Students apply to One Summer Chicago and selected students must be staffed through CPS’ HR process. Students complete HR onboarding and have debit cards generated for them by CPS Payroll. A week before the internship starts, students attend an orientation that is open to hosts to attend.




What happens during the internship?

Students work with their supervisor to complete concrete work tasks and projects as they are held accountable for their work and behavioral performance. Students also complete an online financial literacy course, which is about 2.5 hours total. Hosts are encouraged to give students some time each week to complete the training.


Every two weeks, hosts sign off on time sheets and students submit those timesheets to CPS for payroll. Students’ first paycheck comes four weeks into the program and their last paycheck comes two weeks after their internship is over. Students can work for up to 6 weeks at 20 hours/week (120 hrs. total); students are paid minimum wage at $8.25 an hour. Students are paid through debit cards provided by ADP. CPS staff also conducts site visits to check in with the host and with the student on how the internship is going.

What happens after the internship?

After the internship, we ask that students and hosts complete an evaluation on their experience. Some companies choose to offer students internships for the school year, and we’d like to know if that’s the case.


  • Youth increase their career preparedness and knowledge of the habits (skills and competencies) of compensated work
  • Youth understand their own interests and abilities as they relate working in the 21st century economy
  • Youth understand the relationship between work, personal income and lifelong learning
  • Youth strengthen and improve their academic, technical and employability skills
  • Youth build self-confidence and maturity by working with adults in a business environment

If you have any questions please email us at CTEPartnerships@cps.edu or call us at (773) 553-2462.




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