Skills center program has spots open for high schoolers
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North Olympic Peninsula Skills Center
Hannah McNabb finished the North Olympic Peninsula Skills Center’s Natural Resources 1 course along with an internship, which earned her a scholarship for post-high school education.

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Local high school students have the chance to become AmeriCorps members, do internships, earn school credit and get paid $1,200 for post-high school education, thanks to a North Olympic Peninsula Skills Center program.

The skills center's natural resources course has a handful of spots available now for high school seniors who qualify, said instructor Dan Lieberman.

The short application form is online at the “Natural Resources 2” website, www.nopsc.org/naturalresources.

Applications are due Dec. 20, and selections will be made by winter break, so now is the time to look into this opportunity, Lieberman said.

AmeriCorps members have long worked in communities on the North Olympic Peninsula.

But until two years ago, all these members have been high school or college graduates.

A little-known and rarely used “student member” position exists within AmeriCorps for high schoolers who are at least 17, Lieberman noted.

Fewer hours

“Student members serve far fewer hours than adult members: 300 hours for the year, basically the time commitment for a very part-time job,” he added.

“But the internships are no less engaging and rewarding.”

Lists of AmeriCorps internship options are at the “Internships” and “Senior Culminating Project Ideas” links on the skills center site, www.OPNRC.org.

The choices aren't limited to the ones on the lists, Lieberman said. Students can use other existing service opportunities or come up with new options based on their personal interests.

High school credit

Because student members will be enrolled in the skills center's natural resources course, they will earn high school credit for their internships.

Depending on the number of hours per week and type of work, students can earn up to 1.5 credits per semester in science, English, career and technical education, or an elective.

“And then there is the money,” Lieberman added.

AmeriCorps gives student members an award worth about $1,200 for any future education-related expenses.

This can be used for college, technical school, trade school and even first-aid training.

If it is used to help pay tuition, most colleges will match the amount, making it a $2,400 scholarship. This money could also be used for computers, books and other supplies.

AmeriCorps offers two eligibility pathways for students: one through high school community service and the other through the skills center natural resources program.

So any student who has earned a community service letter in high school may apply, as can any student who has completed a skills center natural resources class.

For more information, phone the skills center at 360-565-1892 or email DLieberman@portangelesschools.org.

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Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5062, or at diane.urbani@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: December 12. 2012 5:58PM
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