BEAUFORT, NC. — On Thursday at 9 am, eighteen Carteret County Public Schools students from Croatan, East Carteret and West Carteret High Schools will sign on with Carteret Health Care to work in paid internship positions through a new CCPS program called Careers and Partnerships in Education, or CAPE.

“Our hospital recognizes the immense potential and talent that resides in the youth of Carteret County,” said Kyle Marek, Interim Carteret Health Care CEO and President. “Our goal is to empower and inspire the next generation of healthcare leaders and are committed to offering internships to help bridge classroom learning and real-world experience. In addition to clinical care, students have the opportunity to work in many other departments within the organization including Information Services, Facility Services, Food Services and Housekeeping. We are excited to collaborate with Carteret County Schools to create a partnership that will contribute to the growth and development of our community.”

With a tagline of, Find Your Future at the CAPE, the CAPE program is an extension of the Career and Technical Education and Career Development programs at Carteret County Public Schools. The CAPE program began in January of 2023 as a concerted effort to partner with businesses in the community with multiple benefits for both students and organizations. The program:

● Is a collaborative effort between the school system and local businesses
● Matches students to areas of career interest
● Provides on-the-job training and skill development for students
● Provides a source of income for students along with class credits
● Provides workforce development for businesses
● Provides a window into future workforce needs for the school system

Students with Carteret County Schools are excited about the opportunity.

One Junior at West Carteret High School, Javier De La Cruz, said “It was an opportunity in order for me to have a step in the door and to be able to learn and have the experience and do hands on stuff. Because I want to persuade a doctor or a nursing degree”

“I really want to do something with either genetics or like pediatrician or physician or something. I just really love the medical field.” said Olivia Caulder, a Junior at Croatan High School.

Carteret County Public Schools piloted the program by first hosting their own interns within the CCPS Operations Department where students this semester currently work and learn maintenance, plumbing, HVAC and other skills while getting paid and simultaneously earning class credit. The program was then introduced to Carteret Health Care, and more than 75 students responded to an interest video and job survey. From there, interviews were held, and students were chosen for different areas of interest in the hospital including information services and tech, food services, maintenance, and housekeeping.

CCPS Superintendent Richie Paylor said, “The school system and Carteret Health Care are two of the largest employers in Carteret County, so this is an exciting partnership that just makes a lot of sense. The opportunity will provide students with career discovery and on-the-job training while ensuring an intentional, well-developed future workforce for Carteret County.”

On Thursday, these students will be honored at a signing day, where hospital and school officials will welcome students as they sign on to become paid interns at Carteret Health Care. The CCPS Career Development Team will assist in supervising students and monitoring the success of the program in collaboration with the hospital. Students who complete the program as high school seniors have the potential to be hired by their intern hosts in full-time positions upon graduating. CCPS hopes to expand the CAPE program to other businesses and organizations in the future.