(BEDFORD) – At this time last year, Heather Nash, Internship Program Manager with the Lawrence County Economic Growth Council, was having a difficult time finding students to fill summer internship positions with local employers. Now, after a year of dedication towards educating students and the community on the benefits of internships, she’s faced with a new challenge. There are more students seeking internships in specific industries than positions for them to fill.
“It’s a great problem to have,” says Nash. “It means our students have discovered the opportunities and experiences that come with having a summer internship, specifically when it’s in the industry they’re wanting to pursue a career.”
There are a few local industries that take advantage of the value internships to provide to both student and employer and are already meeting the high demand for their positions.
- Advanced manufacturing
- Construction trades
- Mechanical / Industrial engineering
- Auto services
However, there are many students in the community that have interests in industries that either don’t currently offer internships or don’t have enough positions available to meet the demand.
The Lawrence County Economic Growth Council is seeking internship positions for students in the following areas:
- Cosmetology management
- Early childhood
- Computer science / cybersecurity
- Counseling / psychology
- Law enforcement
- Safety management
- Retail management
- Dental assisting
- Chemical engineering
- Veterinary services
Hosting an intern can seem like a daunting task, especially for smaller companies that may not have processes in place for summer interns or know the opportunities available for assistance in funding those positions.
Conexus Indiana, a program specifically for advanced manufacturing and logistics, makes sure high school students have opportunities every summer through 6-week paid internships. To encourage employer participation, Conexus offers 100% funding for those students in the first year and 50% the second year.
Another internship program, Indiana INTERNnet, is a free internship-matching program managed by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce that links employers to internship candidates through its dynamic, searchable database. “through their partnership with the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, Indiana INTERNnet offers the EARN Indiana program. EARN provides up to 50% reimbursement to employers with high-quality internships for hiring eligible students.”
Funding isn’t the only barrier that can prevent employers from hiring interns. Traditionally there has been a lack of awareness from employers on how beneficial hosting an intern can be, but the possibilities are endless.
For example, interns can increase productivity on projects that may have taken a back-seat to more pertinent tasks, reduce recruiting costs as many interns turn into full-time employees, bring fresh and innovative ideas, provide current employees supervisory experience in a low-risk environment, and increase overall company and industry awareness.
It’s also a rewarding experience as a great way to give back to the local community and provide learning opportunities to students that may influence their decision to pursue a career close to home.
“If you’re a student reading this and interested in an internship don’t be afraid to take an opportunity that lies outside your comfort zone. You will still gain knowledge and experience you otherwise wouldn’t, and at the very least confirm what career is right for you,” Nash says.
If you are an employer interested in hosting an intern or learning more about the Conexus Indiana and Indiana INTERNnet programs, contact Heather Nash at 812-275-4493 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also fill out the form at
www.lawrencecountygrowth.com/workforce-coalition/internships and someone will be in touch.
About the Lawrence County Economic Growth Council
The Lawrence County Economic Growth Council is a non-profit, local economic development organization (LEDO) existing to support the growth of Lawrence County Businesses including startup support, workforce solutions, and technical assistance which promotes investment that improves the quality of life for our citizens.
Learn more at www.lawrencecountygrowth.com.