Company management advises students to gain exposure to careers during high school and college years
While David Giardino admits he was a little skeptical about bringing an intern into his company, founded in 1996, he quickly realized it was a chance worth taking.
The founder and president of Turino Group in Providence, Giardino felt a commitment to his community that includes providing students with exposure to his software development and schedule management company in the construction industry.
“We love Rhode Island, we love our community,” he said. “How are students going to know what they want to do with their careers if we don’t give them a chance?”
Enter Jimmy Marmol, an outstanding student at the Juanita Sanchez Educational Complex, who had impressed Carina Monge, the high school’s Career and Technology Education (CTE) Coordinator. Marmol had completed a biomedical program at JSEC and wanted to try a different pathway in computers, data and programming.
Monge’s husband, Byron, worked at Turino Industries, located on Smith Hill, and recommended Marmol for an internship there. The company provides software development and data integration, collection and reporting primarily for the building and construction industries. The company is a Microsoft-certified partner and was named one of the Best Places to Work by Providence Business News for three consecutive years.
“He was awesome,” said Giardino. “He had good values and a good work ethic. As Jimmy worked here, we learned he was also very smart.”
Marmol first inventoried the company’s computer hardware. He installed upgrades and helped with hardware maintenance, which was what he planned to do as a career. “I got some guidance, but felt good accomplishing things on my own,” he said.
After graduating from JSEC in 2009, Marmol enrolled at Rhode Island College, where he majored in computer science and worked in the Admissions Office. He kept in touch with the Monges, and during his senior year, he was hired as a full-time paid college intern to work with the company on a project with Microsoft.
Again, he was a very strong performer, and the company realized they didn’t want to let him go. He was hired as a web developer pending his college graduation in 2013.
“Jimmy showed a lot of initiative,” said Monge. “He showed a good work ethic, he asked a lot of questions and was a great initiator. He excelled at the job we gave him. He took the opportunity and ran with it.”
Turino Industries now regularly hires sponsors high school and college interns to work after school and in the summer. Usually, one of four interns is hired, said Giardino.
He recommends that students try to obtain internship experiences while in high school and college in order to gain exposure to different fields. For those who have strengths in science and technology, Giardino advises them to stick with it. “There are always opportunities for someone with those skills who knows how to communicate, both in writing and in speaking and who is willing to work hard.”
Marmol realizes he was fortunate to gain employment based on his internship experience. In addition to internships, he advises students to try new things and talk to teachers, mentors, supervisors and guidance counselors who can point them in the right direction.
Monge agrees. “Internships can lead to opportunities. An internship for a student enrolled in a career-technical program is a great school-industry partnership.”
Currently, 90 students are involved in the CTE programs (biomedical and community development and leadership programs) at JSEC and 28 seniors are doing internships with eight partner companies.
A former intern himself, Monge trained to be a nurse’s assistant while in a magnet program at Mt. Pleasant High School. He interned in the state medical laboratory, Miriam Hospital and at a nursing home. His mentor at Miriam exposed him to work with computers as he entered medical data, which led to an interest in computer science. Like Marmol, Monge became a computer science major at RIC.
While internship experiences are important, Monge recommends that students continue to take classes to prepare for college. He also advises them to have a goal when planning their careers. “You might not have a map, but you need to have a basic goal. While you need initiative, you have to have something more.”
Student internships, he said, are important for the state’s economic development. “More local businesses need to get more involved in working with schools,” said Monge. “Education and economic development go together. If we present opportunities to share our knowledge and experience, some kids will take it and run with it. It helps everyone and it helps to develop contributing members of our society.”