Ginger Liddell and Leilani Lozan at the Feb 16 Chamber breakfast

Ginger Liddell and Leilani Lozan from Payson High School at the Feb 16 Chamber breakfast. The two came to introduce the launch of an internship program between the two organizations.

Getting launched into the world’s a challenge.

Teens discover they can’t get real world experience without a job.

And they can’t get a job without real world experience.

A real chicken and egg conundrum.

Enter Payson High School and the Rim Country Chamber of Commerce.

The two organizations have forged a partnership to provide that real world experience for high school seniors through an internship program.

Chamber Director Brenda Case invited Ginger Liddell, co-director of the Payson High School Career Technical Education Department and advisor for the DECA marketing program, to introduce the internship program to chamber members at the Feb. 16 Chamber breakfast. Liddell and Case hope to create a win-win situation for businesses in town and the students who seek to build a resumé.

Liddell explained the many ways an internship program could benefit a local business.

An intern from the DECA marketing program could help create a social media campaign, or a brand campaign for a local business. Construction arts students can hire out for building projects — or auto shop students could work in car repair shops.

Don’t forget about catering, once pandemic restrictions ease up, said Liddell.

“We are looking to do a lot of connection with us and the community,” she said.

The internship program enables students to learn how to thrive in the work world before leaving school. Liddell will act as the liaison to the high school programs, while Case will work with local businesses and organizations to find a good fit.

Liddell brought along Leilani Lozano, a junior and a student of marketing, who found her hoped-for career path through one of the career technical programs at PHS.

“Within the first semester of my marketing classes, I figured out where I wanted to go to college and what I want to do,” she said.

After completing two more years of the DECA marketing program, Lozano plans to attend Arizona State University’s entrepreneurial program. She said she likes clothes and hopes to go into fashion and use the knowledge she learned in DECA.

“The first thing we learned, how not only to market a brand and product, but how to market yourself,” she said.

The Chamber members peppered her with questions.

“Would you say your life has changed because of this program?” asked one audience member.

“One hundred percent,” replied Lozano.

She said DECA made it possible for her to even stand in front of the chamber and talk.

“I would stammer and stutter and shake,” she said in a clear and confident voice of her past.

Lozano’s so sold on the program, she’s got her younger cousin into DECA.

“She was shy and quiet, and I see her branching out,” said Lozano.

Case hopes to build a business plan that will provide PHS seniors hands-on experience before they graduate.

“I see a powerful bridge,” she said of the relationship between the school and the Chamber members.

For more information, please contact Ginger Liddell at: 928-472-5749 (email ginger.liddell@pusd.org) or Brenda Case at the Rim Country Chamber of Commerce: 928-474-4515 (email: info@rimcountrychamber.com).

Contact the reporter at mnelson@payson.com

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