Colleges and universities work to prepare students to achieve success in their future careers, and internships offer the experiential learning that benefits students greatly. For about 20 years, MHCC supervisors have experienced firsthand the value of internship placements with seniors from Fitchburg State University (FSU). The Agency has a workforce that embraces the learning needs of students and that supports their professional development goals while they are here. Supervising interns is added work to already busy work days; however, the dividends are great – strong students have stayed on to work fulltime following graduation and they serve our consumers well.
Michael Prophet completed his internship placement as an FSU senior in 2013. He proved himself to be a quality candidate and was soon hired as a Geriatrics Support Services Coordinator. When asked to think back about his internship, Michael stated, “I think what made the biggest impression was how supportive everyone was and the feeling that I was really making a difference. I was thrilled to be somewhere where they made me feel like a valued employee even as an intern.” Michael now serves as a Housing Program Manager. He supervises four staff and has oversight of multiple housing sites.
Sarah Dateo graduated in 2015 and credits the people who supported her work as a student as the reason she pursued fulltime employment at MHCC. Sarah completed her internship hours in the Senior Home Care division and now serves as a case aide for the State Home Care Program. A genuine commitment to aging grandparents resulted in her desire to serve the elderly.
Pat Lamoureux, retired a few years back from MHCC, but loves it enough to help out in the protective services department. As a non-traditional student, Pat started her schoolwork at Fitchburg State University after her three children were in grade school. Pat completed her internship at MHCC in 1982 and was hired as a case manager just weeks after graduating. Pat received her MSW from University of Connecticut and returned to MHCC – eventually serving as a Protective Services Supervisor. When asked what brings her back every day she states, “I love the people and I love the work.”
Geri Marino completed her internship in the fall of 2010. After coming on fulltime and supporting MHCC in a number of roles, she currently serves as the Supportive Housing Coordinator for the Day Street Program in Fitchburg. “The coworkers, clients, employee benefits, and atmosphere bring me back every day. I enjoy working with elders and people with disabilities and helping improve their quality of life,” stated Geri.
The highlighted employees are just few of the 20 plus graduates of Fitchburg State University. Many have their undergraduate degree in human services. A majority have pursued post graduate work at FSU and other universities. What is shared by all members of the Montachusett Home Care team is the understanding that education matters and mentoring students matters even more.