A handful of recent Houston high school graduates may have just opened a potential pipeline of talent for the City of Houston.
The students are the first graduates of the city’s Fleet Management Department Internship Program. They received their certificates of completion at a June 2 ceremony at the Sterling Aviation Early College High School. Now they and students who follow their footsteps into the internship program may have a pathway to working with the city.
And they could help keep the city running. Speaking to the graduates, FMD Director Victor Ayres pointed out that the city has an immense and essential fleet of vehicles and equipment. Without proper maintenance and repair, many city operations would be hampered.
“Just to give you an idea,” he said, “we have over 12,000 pieces of equipment in our fleet. There are many opportunities with the city. So your career path is wide open.”
Ayres was not the only COH representative to encourage the students. District D Councilwoman Carolyn Evans-Shabazz congratulated them for completing a rigorous academic year that included the inaugural FMD Internship Program.
“For you to do this in high school is tremendous. You are one step ahead of a lot of other people. Congrats to each of you for staying the course,” Evans-Shabazz said. “This is a potentially lucrative career and I commend you for doing this. I believe the track you’re on can certainly put you ahead of the game. Anybody who knows anything about the trades knows that at the end of the day you can really make more money than those in academia.
“May all six of you remember how amazing you are. May each of you continue to pursue your wildest dreams and make your future the reality that you envision,” she said.
Ayres added that program participants could have career opportunities with the city.
“We will always have vehicles — everything from lawn mowers to fire trucks,” he said. “We have plenty to do: We have 260 technicians in our department and 24 maintenance shops. So getting in on the ground level with the city is a great opportunity for you to develop yourselves and develop whatever career path you choose to take.”
Ayres acknowledged the difficulties the students faced completing the training program, as the coronavirus pandemic emerged and complicated the end of their school year.
Calling it a “Herculean effort,” he commended the graduates and said he looks forward to some internship program participants joining the City of Houston and working with the Fleet Management Department.
“As it was pointed out, y’all are pioneers. Y’all are No. 1 — the first class out of any organization with the city to have done what you have done.
This is the start of something much bigger. We’re going to reach out to other schools to replicate what you’ve done here. The first one is always the hardest. We’re going to continue this. But y’all are Class No. 1. I want to commend you on all the effort it took to get through this program.”
The inaugural FMD Internship Program graduates are Nya D. Dicks, Rogelio Soto Hernandez, D’Andre L. Houston, Rixcey L. Manning and Thomas E. Reed.
Sterling High School principal Sabrina Cuby-King said the students were the cream of the crop from their class.
“I’m very excited about the opportunity for success this will bring to you, as well as to your families,” she said. “You had to be top-tier students in order to participate in this program. Relish in that. Be proud of that.”