Made in Durham is a community partnership comprised of educators, businesses, nonprofits, government, and local youth aiming to create a strong education-to-career system. The overall goal of the organization is to provide stronger education for the youth of the community and consequently build a stronger workforce. Specifically, their vision is to see members of the Durham community graduate high school, complete postsecondary studies, and begin a professional career by the age of 25. Smashing Boxes shares that vision with Made in Durham and wanted to take part in developing today’s youth. With the help of Made in Durham, we put together a high school internship program. Through this initiative, we have the opportunity to work with three local high school students for six weeks this summer with the goal of teaching them essential skills for their future careers.
CEO of Smashing Boxes, Nick Jordan, believes this is an invaluable opportunity for everyone involved.
“Made in Durham focuses on the intersection of community and economic development by expanding the job skills of local residents. This creates a more robust workforce and allows members of the community to capitalize on jobs in the area. At Smashing Boxes, one of our three key principles is to be an outstanding community member, so the partnership with Made in Durham was a natural fit for our shared values.”
Local high school students, Simon, Pierce, and Yousaf, are eager to spend the next six weeks in this immersive experience here at SB. The program is specifically designed for students who would like experience working for and operating within a digital agency. They will spend time in each department developing skills to help them create and deploy a web landing page for a gaming application. To add to this, they will learn strategies to market and sell their final product. The first week has been an opportunity to learn more about sales, business development, and marketing. Throughout the following four weeks they will dive into development and design. In their final week they will present the finished product to Nick Jordan, to get a CEO’s feedback on their work and progress.
Along with business development and sales, the interns’ first week has been a time for brainstorming to form a concrete plan of action. Simon, Pierce, and Yusef are all enthusiastic about getting to be creative in this process and collaborating to produce ideas for getting started. They are most excited about learning how to code and gaining an insight on how a company like Smashing Boxes operates. Simon says that he is particularly intrigued by the design process.
“An important goal of ours is to use the best possible design to make our page stand out in comparison to others.”
The three of them agree that by the end of their six weeks they hope to produce an MVP – Minimum Viable Product. They want to have a landing page with basic features that can be built upon in the future. Yousaf is excited to not only be learning new skills, but implementing them to create this MVP.
“I want to make something that I’m proud of and that I couldn’t have done before.”
Pierce is thinking about the future benefits of this opportunity.
“I’m interesting in learning information that I can take to a job one day.”
While they expect to run into challenges and creative blocks throughout the next five weeks, they are confident that they will be able to use their resources to find solutions. Further than coding and design, this experience will instill invaluable teamwork and leadership skills that will stay with them well into their professional lives. The Smashing Boxes team is thrilled to be working with these students and excited to see their final product at the conclusion of their time here.
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