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Tech-Teach Fabrication Skills Internship Program for High School Students

Posted on Feb 8, 2018 by in The OFI Blog |

Students and staff examine the quality of welds at the Folklife Fabrication Shop. Photo by Kyle Bancroft, Smithsonian Folklife Festival.


The Smithsonian’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage (CFCH) is pleased to announce the Tech-Teach Fabrication Skills Internship Program for DC-based High School Students


Since 1967, the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage has produced the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival, an event that brings together millions of people onsite and online to explore and engage with community-based traditions and occupational skills from around the world. Our goal is to strengthen and preserve these cultures by presenting them on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

How It Works

The Smithsonian Folklife Festival will facilitate an after-school workshop series designed for Washington, D.C.-area high school students interested in learning trades, crafts, and other technical skills. This five-week extracurricular program centers on drafting, carpentry, welding, metal work, safety precautions, and other elements of technical production. The program will introduce students to elements of design and fabrication, from preliminary stages of conceptual design through the completed build of a 2018 Folklife Festival structure. Students will work closely with industry professionals, experienced Smithsonian staff, and each other in a collaborative learning environment that will take place at the Folklife Fabrication Shop in Lanham, Maryland. The internship is ideal for high school students with interest in design, construction, and fabrication.

Interns will receive a $500 stipend during the part-time, five-week internship.

Learning Objectives

Hard skills in technical production are returning to prominence in the United States. Eager to share knowledge and resources in these highly sought-after aptitudes, the Smithsonian looks to train young students in the art of fabrication that may contribute to their employability and pursuits of higher education.

  • Safety – The training will begin with an intensive workshop where students will learn about personal protective equipment and tool safety.
  • Design – Interns will learn skills in 2D and 3D drawing by learning drafting techniques like analytical sketching and axonometric drawing.
  • Wood Working – Training will be given in dimensioning, cutting, shaping, sanding, and assembling a variety of projects.
  • Metal Working – Though metal work can be daunting, students will learn safe and efficient ways of marking, cutting, bending, drilling, and cleaning.
  • Welding – Coursework will heat up in the third week when students learn the science, material properties, equipment safety, and techniques of electrode welding.
  • Installation – With an emphasis on teamwork and communication, students will gain valuable onsite exposure to heavy equipment, working in the elements, and project completion.

Prerequisites and Eligibility

We encourage applicants from D.C.-area high schools who are interested in gaining hands-on training and experience in building arts. Workshops are held in an industrial environment. At times, participants will have to work with loud noises, dust, and the occasional need to lift up to 35 lbs.

How to Apply

  • To apply, create an account on the Smithsonian Online Academic Appointment System (SOLAA). Then start an application for this internship program, which is listed under the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage unit as “Tech-Teach Fabrication Skills Internship.” Follow the steps listed, and be sure to upload any necessary supporting documents.
  • Need help? Contact Tyler Nelson at ( or Kyle Bancroft ( Learn more about the Festival:
  • Application deadline: March 1, 2018