This summer, United Way For Greater Austin is funding a six-week blended enrichment program for middle school students in Manor. In partnership with Bank of America, a special cohort of incoming 9th graders will concentrate on career readiness and financial literacy as they prepare for high school. Students will not only learn about careers in the classroom, but will take weekly field trips to various businesses and organizations to learn about different career paths from the employees working in each field.
Last week, the summer program kicked off with students visiting the state capitol to learn more about the political sector. The students took a tour of the capitol to learn more about the history of the building and Texas government. They learned some interesting facts when visiting the State Senate room, like how the Senate does not have a limit for debate which can cause a filibuster. (The longest filibuster in Texas happened in 1977 when a representative talked for 43 hours!)
After the tour, students met with Miguel Liscano and Curtis Smith to learn about their career paths and experiences working in the capitol. Curtis Smith works as the Chief of Staff for Representative Terry Canales from District 40, and Miguel Liscano who works as the Committee Director for the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence for Representative Abel Herrero of District 34. Miguel and Curtis discussed how they started their careers through internships, working with a business or organization for a semester or summer to get both educational and real life experience in different fields. The students learned how Miguel’s and Curtis’s intern experiences helped elevate their resumes and create lifelong connections, which helped them when looking for a job after college and grad school.
One interesting fact that surprised the students was that some of the workers even sleep at the capitol when in session! It is a very fast paced job during session because the Texas Legislature is only in session five months every other year. This means when they are not in session, they are staying updated on the needs in their representatives’ districts, upcoming policy and law changes and preparing for the next legislative session. Both Miguel and Curtis emphasized the passion they hold for their jobs and the people they serve.
The students asked questions to learn more about Miguel’s and Curtis’s educations, daily tasks and unexpected surprises of the job. Students left the trip with a great snapshot of a career in the political sector and how important internship experiences are.