Opportunity Now Interns Rack Up Digital Expertise in Nashville

By Justin Stokes

Last week, we shared an article about the summer workshops and programs that teach Middle Tennessee youth about the value of STEM, from building robots to programming computer code.

There’s more to vocational preparedness than STEM skills, though, so general job training and experience has also been on the summer syllabus in Nashville. At the Mayor’s Youth Violence Summit, Nashville Mayor Megan Barry detailed her commitment to providing productive opportunities to working-age teens.

Among those initiatives is Opportunity Now:

Opportunity Now is a youth employment initiative spearheaded by the office of Nashville’s Mayor, Megan Barry, to create a more comprehensive out-of-school network, while improving the overall climate for hiring young people. This initiative supports Nashville’s next generation (ages 14-24) as they develop valuable life skills and confidence needed to excel in the workplace. Opportunity NOW provides young people with real chances to learn skills that stimulate the next generation of growth in our economy – benefitting our youth, our businesses, and our city.

This summer’s Opportunity Now program was a “test run” of sorts, and Comcast was proud to work with students selected for the high school internship six-week program. The selected interns worked directly with Comcast’s External Affairs team from June 6 to July 14.

A combination of projects revolving around internet safety and Comcast’s Internet Essentials service made up the majority of the interns’ work. The students traveled throughout the area and had opportunities to teach both adults and children about being smart online, including dealing with inappropriate content, malware, digital security and phishing schemes.

The eight rising college freshmen also produced and researched presentations that taught others about the dangers of cyberbullying, safe usage of email and social media and general digital literacy.

Kenneth Hunter, one of the interns, is now preparing to enter his first semester of higher education. The soon-to-be criminal justice student at Middle Tennessee State University said that the program also educated him about digital literacy.

“It gave me more variety. I never looked at the internet as much as I do now,” he said. He added that he now thinks of the internet as a “necessary resource” for all disciplines of education.

Martin Luther King Jr. High School graduate Beshoi Grees also said that the experience provided him and his team a good template for conduct with others. Members of Comcast’s External Affairs team were especially helpful in teaching the value of hard work.

“[Working] with Terry [Vo] and Kim [Sasser Hayden] the whole summer [showed us] how employees should be in the workplace,” Grees said. “They’re good examples for us.”

For a company like Comcast that is fully committed to community investment and betterment, playing host to this summer’s group of Opportunity Now interns was both a joy and a privilege.

Lead photo courtesy of Boys and Girls Club of Middle Tennessee 

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