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College is not the only path to success for the students at Little Elm High School. Sitting at a table inside the HOLT CAT Little Elm dealership, you quickly learn a big company like this is seeking out employees before they graduate high school. “We find value in our internship program and we want to expand it here to Little Elm,” said Tony Spalding, director for Interns and Apprenticeship Programs at HOLT CAT. “We work with high schools all over Texas. We currently have 78 high school interns and have converted 125 of them to full-time employees. In fact, we just celebrated five years with those hired full-time after high school.”
Spalding, along with his colleagues, was sharing information about the internship program with members of the Little Elm Economic Development Corporation and Little Elm ISD educators. For the EDC, this program would help with job retention. For the District, it means a partnership to empower our students for success.
In the fall, LEHS students enrolled in the welding program who are juniors can apply and interview for a chance to gain experience in technical trade while earning high school credit. Students will begin their paid internship in the spring semester. “After their senior year, if they qualify, they can compete for a full-time position at HOLT,” said Spalding. “Our goal is to make all of them full-time employees.”
Robb Gentry, welding and agriculture teacher, could not be more excited about this opportunity for LEHS students. “I think after hearing what HOLT CAT is willing to provide to our kids, it’s the perfect intersection of what we need for them and what the industry needs to find the right people to become highly skilled and qualified employees,” said Gentry. “I want to say thank you to them for considering our kids as an added benefit to the success of their company. This is a win-win for everyone.”
HOLT CAT is the largest Caterpillar heavy equipment and engine dealer in the United States and has 26 locations in Texas.