At the age of 15, Kadaja Faulkner, a Manual Academy junior, says she has it all figured out. “At first I wanted to be a nurse, but then I wanted to be an OB-GYN, but I really like with working with, well I don’t like working with boys,” she said.

But boys or no boys, as a teenager, she still has limited experience in the health industry giving her some doubt as she plans her future.

“Most people go to college and say they want to do something, they spend a lot of money then figure out they don’t want to do it, so they waste their money on something they said they wanted to do,” Faulkner said.

Which is why she says she’s wants to get in on the Mayor’s Internship Challenge. They just need companies to join in, companies like CSE Software.

“You always have, you know, a bunch of kids who are involved on technology on their own anyway. And so this is an opportunity to get out to the work force and show them what they can do with the skills that they have,” CSE Software Vice President Lara Aaron said.

She has already started to put together the company’s program. “I think we are going to try to come up with sort of a four week program that’s a combination of doing hands on work and also the job shadowing,” she said.

These internships and job shadow opportunities could even lead to a full-time position one day.

“We’re always trying to recruit in the Peoria area with the local colleges, and so just working with high schools when they’re younger is very important to us because it’s our future workforce,” Aaron said.

“We can’t do this by ourselves. The companies have to agree to it. By having this internship, help us out getting the companies involved. They’ll see that we want to do this,” Faulkner said.

Aaron said they hope to have 3-5 students start in the fall. The mayor’s goal is to have at least 50 new internship opportunities by the end of the next school year.