SPENCER -- Finding funding to support an internship program can be an obstacle for some businesses and organizations. Luckily, Clay County employers can turn to the Student Internship Program established by Spencer Area Jobs Trust. The program will provide support and financial resources to employers with internship programs. The purpose of the program is to give students a significant learning experience while helping employers recruit skilled workers.
Modeled from the Iowa Internship Program, which links students from Iowa schools to internships, the Clay County program will accept students from any university or college, including community colleges. To be eligible for the state program, the business must be in the field of advanced manufacturing, biosciences or information technology. The Clay County program is open to businesses in any industry.
"The focus is to encourage employers to hire interns and establish internship programs," Iowa Lakes Corridor Vice President Shaun Arneson said. "We want employers to introduce students to the area and give them a challenging and meaningful work experience. The hope is that the internship will lead to full-time employment."
The program started in 2010. There was a significant increase in involvement from the first to second year. In 2010, two employers participated with three interns; in 2011, seven companies participated with 10 interns.
Students who are within two years of graduation are eligible for the program. Two plans are available: a semester term and a summer term. The semester term, which does not have to run parallel with a school semester, must last at least 14 weeks, and the intern must work no less than 10 hours per week. The summer program must last at least eight weeks with the student working an average of 30 hours per week.
Students that are U.S. Citizens from any college or university, including community college, are eligible. Eligible employers include those in Clay County that are for-profit employers, publicly traded, private, employee owned, and family owned businesses. Ineligible employers include not-for-profit organizations and businesses and city, state and federal employers.
Businesses are awarded up to $3,000 per internship, and can apply for a maximum of three interns per fiscal year. The award amount allowable will be one dollar for every dollar paid by the business to the intern. For example, if the student earns $4,000 during the internship, the employer will fund $2,000, and the Jobs Trust will reimburse the company $2,000. Interns must be paid a minimum of $14.52, which is the average regional wage for Clay County.
Clay County employers that wish to participate in the Student Internship Program can contact the Iowa Lakes Corridor office at 264-3474. The Jobs Trust will review each application as received; applications should be submitted no later than April 6. Employers are encouraged to apply to the Iowa Student Internship Program first, if eligible.