SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Sioux Falls students will soon be able to trade hands-on work experience for high school credit.

The city's public high schools are working to expand internship options for students to give them experience in career fields that interest them, the Argus Leader reported.

Students currently have some internship options that include skilled trades through the Career and Technical Education Academy. But officials want to apply that program to more fields, said Teresa Boysen, assistant superintendent.

These internships would replace two required high school credits if the district's plan is approved by the state Department of Education.

"Everything you hear is 'workforce development,'" Boysen said. "So here's the opportunity for the Sioux Falls community to really wrap their arms around our youth and give them the support they need at this point in their career."

Officials said the expanded internship program would function similarly to many college-level internships. Students will spend the beginning of the semester working to find career fields they might pursue. Then they would shadow a company to determine if it's a good fit.

Once a company is chosen, the student would spend two hours a day for eight weeks working in that business.

"We really want to tailor it so it's meaningful for them and looking forward to their career path," Boysen said.

Getting high school students into internships will not only help them define their career, but will also help businesses build a pipeline of workers, said Kathy Larson, owner of Open Fields Recruiting.

"If you engage your brand with an intern, it's more likely that they're going to take a job from you than from someone they absolutely don't know," Larson said.

The program is expected to begin in the spring.

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Information from: Argus Leader, http://www.argusleader.com