CareerBridge Internship Opens New Opportunities In Engineering

By Eric Steckel | January 3, 2020

Partnership with Boost@BerkeleyHass helps students gain on-the-job experience

Corey presents his CareerBridge report

Corey imagined he would one day be a doctor, but a CareerBridge internship at Caltrans opened up the world of engineering to him.

Corey Reeves came to CareerBridge with big plans for his life. He was an excellent student at San Leandro High School, passionate about volleyball, and he dreamed of being a doctor. “I’m really passionate about learning. I realize that no matter where I go in life, I can always learn, and I’m always going to be a student.”

Like many CareerBridge students, Corey spent the last four years participating in the Boost@BerkeleyHaas program. With similar goals to CareerBridge, Boost is a rigorous four-year program designed to inspire, elevate, and support academic and career pursuits for first generation, under-resourced youths. 

While Boost urges their students to participate in a summer internship, the program does not directly provide those opportunities. Through a partnership with Children Rising, Boost students like Corey are offered a wide array of options to spend a summer learning on-the-job skills at organizations like Caltrans, BART and Intel, as well as local businesses like the Kylie Walsh Osteopathy clinic.

CareerBridge “…lets you see the different work environments that you can do like engineering, science, technology, math, education, child development, all those sorts of things.”

Corey chose to intern at Caltrans. Although he had participated in several internships which reinforced his dream to pursue a career in medicine, he still felt anxious about entering an organization with 4,000 employees. He started in the communications department, working with stock photography. 

“At first I was in a department where I didn’t really like what I was doing. I wasn’t challenged, I wanted to give up,” Corey confessed. The CareerBridge staff were able to help him through the difficult start. “They encouraged me to keep trying harder because eventually something positive would happen.”

Corey with fellow CareerBridge summer interns

Corey was discouraged at the beginning of his internship, but persevered and gained invaluable experience that changed his career ambitions and opened up a job at Caltrans.

Corey stuck with it, and before long, he was transferred to the department of electrical engineers. That’s when things took off, and Corey discovered an all-new passion. 

“They would actually pull me aside and talk to me separately, and show me what they do, what it requires, and what I would need to do in school in order to get where they are,” Corey explained. “And we took a couple tours and they showed us the bridges they’re working on or the bridges they had worked on, like the Bay Bridge when it was being built. It was cool, and so much more challenging.”

Corey’s internship at Caltrans has changed his career ambitions. He now wants to become an engineer, and was offered a job with Caltrans starting in January, 2020.

“CareerBridge really helps you understand that even if you do have a certain passion, it exposes you to different ones. And it lets you see the different work environments that you can do like engineering, science, technology, math, education, child development, all those sorts of things.”


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