During the Rainmakers Internship Preparation Program, there will be several situations which will require that students reach out to businesses to secure their Rainmakers Internship employer Host. We make sure that students who are under the age of 18 delay their outreach to secure an internship until they secure their majority. Employers do not want to work with under-age students and won’t sign contracts with a minor. Therefore, as we finish up our training near the end of senior year, we direct under-age students to wait until they turn eighteen to move forward with their internships. We expressly tell them that we will not support/mentor them if they reach out to employers while they are underage. We make sure they know that they have nine months after high school graduation to secure and successfully serve their internships.
We alert employers (for their own safety) to NOT accept a student as an intern until the students are at least eighteen and we advise parents to support that restricted access as well. In fact, we demand that students and employers sign a contract (via email) that defines the project and its various parameters, and in that contract, the student must state his/her age/birth date so the employer knows the age of the student.
The timing of our program has been carefully designed so that the ‘heavy lift’ of soliciting and securing an internship business Host occurs during senior year, when most students are, or are about to reach, the age of 18. No student under the age of 18 will do any outreach to any business person. In fact, most business people will not engage in any sort of individual relationship with a student under the age of 18 due to liability issues on the business side. The Internship Depot will ensure that business people are aware of the need to refrain from responding to, or involving themselves with, students who are younger than 18. The Internship Depot will ensure that participating business people are fully briefed on our protocols.
At no time do participating students who are under the age of 18 ever communicate with business Mentors in a one-on-one situation. All interactions between Mentors and minor students happen in teleconferences or webinars in which multiple students participate anonymously and invisibly. Mentor and student cell phone numbers are never exchanged. The Mentor is identified only as Ms./Mr. First-Last-Initials but does reveal his/her employer and job title. We advise Mentors to not accept or reply to phone calls or text messages sent to them by students. Should either an employer volunteer Mentor or student send/receive a text message, they will be dismissed from the program. All communications between Mentors and Rainmakers Candidates are done by email and we recommend employers save those emails for a period of one year after the student has completed the internship.
We assume that students will be using their cell phones and/or tablets, home computers, library, or school computers to in webinars and group teleconferences. Regardless, phone numbers are not exchanged at any time. One-on-one phone calls and text messaging between Rainmakers Candidates (participating students) and any adult affiliated with the program (paid Internship Depot staff or volunteer Mentors and Hosts) are not allowed, other than the appointed Site Director and high school staff, as necessary.
At key points during program implementation, The Internship Depot will need to send participating students information regarding program activities via email (such as dates and times for webinars or project due date notices). The Internship Depot will also need to accept information from students (such as project submissions in competitive team events) via email. To ensure safety within the email process, all exchanges between Rainmaker Candidates (participating students) and Internship Depot staff will flow through the Site Director, copied to various administrators as school policy may dictate. We recommend that copies of the emails be sent to parents as well.
During teleconferences, webinars, or other live online events, students will sign in using only their first names followed by a set of characters that will produce a unique, but anonymous, identifier.
No information about student identity (names, addresses) will be given to or shared with the Internship Depot staff or any adult involved in the project. All real student identifiers will remain with the school staff and the Site Director.
In addition, the school will be asked to provide all participating students with a phone number (usually that of the school principal or a guidance counselor) that will serve as a ‘hotline’ in case a privacy violation is suspected. Additionally, all participating adults will be advised to contact staff at The Internship Depot if a participating student makes individual outreach to them prior to their 18th birthday.
Participating schools will require Site Directors submit to a criminal background check provided by appropriate authorities as per the school’s/district’s policies. All employees of The Internship Depot are required to submit to criminal background checks on a regular basis.