Kalamazoo Valley Community College

KVCC Foundation News Five Placed in Winter-Semester Internships

Five Placed in Winter-Semester Internships

The college’s Community Partners Internship Program has arranged for five winter-semester placements for students to give them a leg up in future searches for employment.

Lois Brinson-Ropes, the internship coordinator for the Student Employment Services unit in the Student Success Center, reports the finalizing of these workforce-development connections that can be life-and-career changing:

·        David Curtis, a graphic-design major • Paw Paw Wine Distributors

·        Graphic-design/illustration student, Amy O'Donnell -- Wraps & Signs By Trim It

·        Brittany Bauman, another graphic-design enrollee • The Strutt

·        Morgan Wellman as an administrative assistant -- Abies Chiropractic Clinic

·        Chelsea Spencer, a business-administration major will do a marketing internship at Global Clinical Connections, which is located in the M-TEC of KVCC and sponsored a graphic-design intern during the fall semester.

Brinson-Ropes said discussions are under way to place a drafting student at The Outerwears Co. Inc. in Schoolcraft, a computer programmer at Brave Industrial Fasteners in Otsego, a graphic-design major at Market Grasp Media, and an accounting student at Symphony Financial Services.

“It is such an involved process,” Brinson-Ropes said, “to find the companies, then the perfect student, then send the resumes, wait for the student to connect with the company, get all the paperwork signed and have the student register.  Not complaining at all because it is a blast.”

Funded for a three-year period by the KVCC Foundation, the $100,000 project seeks to place at least 55 students over a three-year period with enterprises interested in a grow-your-own-workforce alliance.

The bulk of the grant funds is being used to pay up to 50 percent of the wages for each intern, with the companies they work for providing the balance.  The program will last through December of 2011.

Salary terms are established on a case-by-case basis and agreed upon prior to the commencement of the internship.  The pay can range from the minimum wage of $7.40 to $12 per hour.

An internship usually lasts 15 weeks, but students can apply at any time and be assigned year round.

“We see this internship program as the college’s wish to join forces with Southwest Michigan employers to produce and retain a highly talented and trained workforce,” Brinson-Ropes said.

And there may be more help coming along the way.

A Jan. 14 article in Business Review West Michigan magazine reported that organizations are making progress on growing internships across the state.

The West Michigan Strategic Alliance conducted a survey in November that showed employers had created 450 new internships in the region during 2009, and that might be a conservative number.  The alliance’s goal is to assist in the creation of 3,000 new internships throughout West Michigan by the end of 2011.

Meanwhile the Kalamazoo Regional Chamber of Commerce is continuing its internship-outreach project by sponsoring workshops for both employers and students.   It has held these workshops in conjunction with Western Michigan University’s engineering, business and communication schools.  It reports that consideration is under way to stage a workshop at KVCC.

For many enterprises -- and not just those in emerging businesses -- the No. 1 factor for achieving success is finding the right people to fit the right jobs.  Internships are tried-and-true ways to “grow your own” and identify prospects with high potential.

Instructors should tell students that can apply when they have achieved the skills and education required by the company offering the internship, and when they have completed 50 percent of the course work in their respective majors.

They will also be required to complete pre-employment-skills training provided by the center’s Student Employment Services.

This training will include resume writing, effective cover letters, interviewing skills, professional attire, personal hygiene, promptness and dependability, communication skills, and non-verbal behavior.

Each company can request an intern based on the area of study, skills needed, duties expected, hours of work, and when the person is needed on the job. Each will select an intern based on the organization’s existing hiring methods and criteria.

Instructors can direct interested students to Brinson-Ropes in Room 1356 on the Texas Township Campus.  She can be contacted at extension 4344 or lbrinsonrop@kvcc.edu.

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