LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — An internship program at the Discovery Children’s Museum has been encouraging and supporting students in Las Vegas for 30 years.

It’s a program getting teens ready for the workforce. 8 News Now sat down with a former intern who volunteered at the museum about her experience and how she hopes other kids will take away two major components from her story; stay in school and work hard.

“I didn’t even know we had a Discovery Children’s Museum in the Valley,” Airam Medrano-Carrilllo said.

That was until an opportunity opened up. Medrano-Carrillo said the Discovery Children’s Museum by the Smith Center in Downtown Las Vegas changed her life.

“This internship allowed me the opportunity to open my horizons and see what I would like to be after high school,” Medrano-Carrillo said.

She’s referring to the museum’s Youthworks Internship Program. The program targets current high school students ages 15 to 17. It provides local youth with opportunities through education, work experience, and community service.

“It was cool to find out a children’s museum offered a paid internship,” Medrano-Carrillo said.

Medrano-Carrillo, who now works full-time at the museum, said when she was an intern there her family was facing financial hardship.

“We’re a family of five, we grew up right here [in] Vegas, lived here my whole life [and} after COVID there really wasn’t a lot of work [and] my dad got laid off,” she said.

“For some of our students they are helping to contribute to the bills in their household,” the museum’s Vice President of Development Caitlin Shea said.

Shea said the program’s overall goal is to help more students graduate high school.

“Youthworks became a staple program with Discovery Children’s Museum because back 30 years ago, we’re talking 1993, they were really concerned about the dropout rate in high schools in the state of Nevada,” Shea said.

The most recent data from the Nevada Department of Education shows Clark County’s dropout rate is less than 5%.

“Working is important and learning those important skills and being ready for the workforce is a vital piece of being a teenager, but equally important to us is always the graduation,” Shea said. “This is kind of the best-kept secret in Southern Nevada when it comes to teens.”

A secret guiding students one step at a time.

“We have never been busier in this community, [the] fastest growing City in the United States,” Shea said.

Shea also told 8 News Now that students do have to volunteer with the Discovery Children’s Museum for a set amount of hours before applying for the internship. Students must also maintain a minimum GPA of 2.5 or higher to be in the program.

The museum is actively accepting applications.