A Reflection on My Time as ABI's School to Work Student

May 18, 2023 | York Meggison, ABI's School to Work Student

If you’ve visited the ABI office in the last six months, you may have seen me at the front of the office. I am just completing my internship at the Iowa Association of Business and Industry as part of the Dallas Center -Grimes school-to-work program.

In the DC-G school to work program, students are able to get high school and college credit for working during the school day. As a high school student who didn’t have many classes left to take, the school-to-work program was appealing to me as a good use of my time that would be otherwise spent in a study hall or unnecessary class. In the DC-G school-to-work program, students participate in a classroom portion for the first quarter of the year, and report to their jobs in the second quarter. In the first quarter of the school year, lessons focused on general work etiquette and important skills, as well as how to conduct myself in an interview. When the first quarter was done, I interviewed at Iowa ABI and began working three days a week during the afternoon.

One of the best parts of the school-to-work program and working for ABI was the flexibility. I was able to choose to only work three days a week for longer hours, since the longer drive to my location made coming in every day for a short time less economically efficient. Additionally, during basketball season, my schedule changed week-to-week, and ABI was accommodating and understanding of my role as a student and athlete.

Another benefit of the school-to-work program was my ability to serve in a role that fulfilled many of my interests. I chose to work at Iowa ABI specifically because their role as a lobbying group for business in Iowa allowed me to work with my interests in politics and business simultaneously. For example, during the legislative session, I would go to the office two days a week, while working with our lobbyists at the Capitol the other day. This way, I was able to learn necessary business and office skills, while also developing a better understanding of the political process. In the office, I was able to do a wide variety of tasks, including invoicing, helping with events, prospecting, and assisting in creating a new database tool for our lobbyists to use. At the Capitol, I was able to sit in on critical committee and subcommittee meetings, take notes and communicate new information to the lobbyists in case of schedule conflicts, and meet other lobbyists and legislators.

The thing I was the most surprised about in my experience was how friendly and open the entire Iowa ABI staff was. At the office and at the Capitol, they were clear in communicating tasks, while allowing me some freedom to work on subjects of interest. They took me under their collective wing, and working with all of them has been a pleasure. I’d recommend the school-to-work program, and the Iowa Association of Business and Industry in particular to anyone with room in their schedule.

After I finish my internship with Iowa ABI and graduate high school, I will be attending the University of Notre Dame within the Mendoza College of Business. Even after this amazing opportunity, I’m not certain what my ultimate career path will be, but my internship in the school-to-work program at Iowa ABI will leave a lasting legacy in my skills and memories wherever I go.