BULLHEAD CITY — Tri-State Youth Internships & Leadership has announced that its paid summer internships offerings have been postponed.

The program for area students ages 16-25 was planning to offer positions from June 1 to July 15 in a variety of professions including automotive, business administration, construction, culinary and information technology as well as medical, dental and mental health care services.

“Because of the COVID-19, we understand it would be hard to pay our students this summer,” said Waheed Zehri, the nonprofit group’s founder and CEO. “Nonessential businesses have been closed for almost two months.”

There were other complications that Zehri and other Tri-State board members needed to consider before postponing the program.

“We thought it was too great a liability for the students and the mentors to take a chance with the virus,” said Gina Covert, vice president of the group as well as the director of career and technical education for the Colorado River Union High School District. “If we move too quickly, we might be putting our community at risk.”

Zehri said they still have the applications submitted by students for the summer program. Depending on how the COVID-19 outbreak is affecting the area in the near future, it might be feasible to set up the program for the fall, Zehri said.

The long-term goal of Tri-State is to create a skilled, regional worker base composed of young residents with solid character and leadership qualities. 

Demand for the program increased significantly since it was introduced last year. 

The plan for this summer was to place up to 80 area high school and college students with the addition this winter of 10 slots each in Kingman and Lake Havasu City. They joined students in Bullhead City, Laughlin, Needles and the Fort Mohave/Mohave Valley area to obtain these internships. 

Interns are provided with instruction about what’s required to succeed in the workplace, such as being punctual and presentable, and learn on-the-job skills.

Zehri, Covert and others involved with the group — including its board members — also stress that it’s an opportunity for youths who participate to develop leadership skills. 

Tri-State will be creating a leadership video for students to view later in the spring.

“It will prepare them for a fall program,” Zehri added.

Students and mentors set to be involved in the summer program will be contacted by Tri-State soon.

For information about the group, go to www.tsyil.org or the group’s Facebook page.

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