For most people, summer means travel, beaches and lounging. But for hundreds of high school and college students in San Francisco, this summer means suiting up and getting down to business.
Throughout the next two weeks, over 160 students will begin their eight or ten week journey with the City and County of San Francisco through an internship program called Project Pull.
Founded in 1996, Project Pull is the brainchild of SFPUC General Manager Harlan L. Kelly, Jr. and the late Robert Mason, two city employees who felt strongly about the importance of providing positive learning opportunities for San Francisco’s youth. Since its inception, Project Pull has evolved to become a full-fledged program that connects students with hands-on experience in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), communications, business administration, engineering and public administration focuses within the public sector.
The program operates as an eight week internship for high school students and a ten week internship for college students. Interns are paired with City employees who serve as mentors. During the program, students work directly with their mentors from Monday through Thursday. Fridays are reserved for enrichment activities, resume and interview workshops, a debate competition and presentations. The curriculum provides a well-rounded experience to help students build a strong foundation for their future.
For Project Pull interns at the SFPUC, summer is not about learning how to make coffee, stuffing envelopes or photocopying documents.
Carlos Valencia, an 11th grade student at Arch Bishop Riordan, hopes his summer with Project Pull will lead him toward a new journey and new beginnings.
“I wanted to do something great with my summer, and this opportunity is an experience I will never forget. I’m really excited to see where this program will lead me to,” said Valencia.
“I decided to spend this summer learning more about the SFPUC and public service. My brother went through the Project Pull internship program two years ago and told me about his experience,” said Jasmin Tejeda, a 12th grade student at Immaculate Conception Academy (ICA). “An internship is one way that I can build work experience for college, but it prepares me for the real world and how to make a difference.”
And while the interns are able to add this fun summer experience onto their resume, the ultimate goal of Project Pull is to expose diverse and talented students to a work environment that they may have not considered before. More importantly, the goal of the program is to invest in the personal growth of students and to draw young citizens to the public sector and perhaps into the workforce of the City and County of San Francisco.