December 28, 2010
By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer
Winter break is a good time for college students to start thinking about what they will do in summer, the New College Institute (NCI) advises.
NCI is taking applications for its 2011 summer internship program, aimed at showing area college students — especially those going to schools elsewhere — that they can find rewarding careers close to home after they graduate.
Now in its fifth year, the program is geared toward students from Henry and Patrick counties and Martinsville. But this year, at the recommendation of an advisory committee, it also is open to students from Franklin and Pittsylvania counties and Danville, according to NCI Associate Director Leanna Blevins.
Students from those places must do their internships either in Martinsville, Henry County or Patrick County, she said.
“We want not only to retain some of our young people” after they graduate, Blevins said, “but also to attract others from elsewhere into our area.”
Another new component of this year’s program is that students will have to do 10 hours of community service each month during the internship.
Although students will be working, they likely will have spare time they can give to various organizations that need help from volunteers, Blevins said.
Volunteering helps students get involved in the community “on a different level” than they can simply by working in it, she said.
Those selected also are expected to take part in professional development and social networking activities. That requirement is aimed at showing students that the area has worthwhile activities — not just jobs, according to NCI officials.
Internship applications must be mailed or hand-delivered to NCI by Feb. 4.
The program is open to students earning associate, bachelor’s or master’s degrees at accredited colleges and universities who have completed at least one year’s worth of courses toward their degrees.
Students must arrange their own internship arrangements. NCI will maintain a list of employers who have shown interest in having an intern next summer, but students can contact any local business or organization they choose.
Employers and students must work out details of internships, such as work hours and duties. Employers then must prepare a statement of commitment that students will submit with their applications.
Students will be paid $4,000 over the course of the summer. Most of that will be covered by funds from the New College Foundation and The Harvest Foundation. Employers must pay $1,000 for a new intern or $2,000 for interns who previously have worked for them, program guidelines show.
The amount of funding from employers will determine how many internships are approved. Blevins said, though, she expects at least 25, and maybe up to 30, internships will be funded.
The $4,000 students will receive equates to $10 to $12.50 an hour, based on expectations that students will work 320 to 400 hours this summer.
That is more salary than many area residents with full-time, permanent jobs are earning, studies indicate.
“We want internships to be very attractive to college students,” Blevins said. “We expect the internships to be high-level, and we want to pay the students what they’re worth.”
To maintain impartiality, NCI staff will not select students for internships. Rather, applications will be approved by a panel of local business people.
Selection criteria, the guidelines show, will include:
• Academic achievement
• Relevance and/or need of the internship position in the community
• Potential for longer-term employment or an ongoing relationship between the student and the employer, and
• Specific, measurable goals and objectives for the intern being established.
Students who are the first in their families to go to college may get special consideration. That is because NCI strives to help people from lower-income backgrounds further their education, and such people may be less likely to initiate contact with potential employers on their own, Blevins said.
For complete details about the internship program, go to NCI’s website at www.newcollegeinstitute.org. Click on “community outreach,” then scroll down and click on “internship opportunities.”
Students chosen for internships, as well as their employers, will be notified by March 1.
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