Interns Brave Plano Mayor’s ‘Shark Tank’

PLANO (CBS11) – They’re out on summer break, but during the next few months more than 100 Plano High School students will be working in internships across the city.

It’s a collaboration between the school district, the mayor’s office and the city’s growing corporate world.

Starting next week the students will be working for companies like Capital One, which was the founding sponsor of the mayor’s summer internship program.

But first organizers wanted them to think big and design a new city landmark.

Teams made their pitches to a Shark Tank-like panel of judges including the mayor, the superintendent of schools, and Capital One executives.

It’s all part of an effort to support the school system that city leaders say plays a big role in drawing corporate relocations looking for a high quality of life. And as companies look to fill thousands of new jobs, Plano ISD’s superintendent is looking to cultivate a local workforce.

“We believe we’re a big piece of the economic development here in Plano, and we want to continue to be a part of that,” Dr. Brian Binggeli said.

But these young people may know best how the city can improve to keep them here.

“I as a citizen of Plano, I am not proud of being a part of Plano,” Plano East student Shyam Madhani said to open his presentation on a proposed tower shaped like a tree to mark Oak Point Park.

A bold statement especially considering Madhani is about to start his internship in the mayor’s office.

“He’s going to have a tough first week of work. That’s all I’m going to have to say,” Mayor Harry LaRosiliere said laughing.

“We’ve all been living here all of our lives, but there’s nothing to really do. It’s boring,” Madhani said in his presentation.

Madhani and the other interns recognize it falls in part to them to change that reputation as the city continues to grow into a center for commerce.

“I think we’re starting to shed that boring moniker, and we’re now going to be known as the cool kids of Collin County,” LaRosiliere said.

Three-hundred-and-fifty students applied for a little more than 100 spots in the program.

The paid internships are privately financed in part by more than 70 companies and nonprofits.

More from Gabriel Roxas
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