North Dakota businesses looking for employees can receive up to $3,000 in matching funds plus additional tax credits by tapping an underused pool of candidates: college interns.
The program is called Operation Intern, and the 2007 Legislature allocated funds to provide incentives to businesses in the state's five targeted industries to hire more interns.
"Operation Intern is part of the state's efforts to retain its young people by educating them about the career opportunities available in North Dakota," Commerce Commissioner Shane Goettle said.
Operation Intern was originally launched by Governor Hoeven in 2003 as one part of the state's effort to retain more young people in North Dakota. The Legislature voted last session to enhance the program with incentives in order to encourage more businesses to provide internships for college students. The Workforce Development Division of the North Dakota Department of Commerce manages Operation Intern and recently hired Kayla Effertz to oversee it.
"Operation Intern is a wonderful opportunity for businesses and students to develop relationships with young talent and provide career opportunities in their company that might keep them here when they graduate," Effertz said.
A Partnership for Cloverdale Foods One company ready to take advantage of the program is Cloverdale Foods of Mandan. "We have had two to three interns at one time working in different departments over the past five years, and they have been a true asset," said Darlene Reinarts, Vice President of Human Resources. Cloverdale uses students in marketing and communications, information technology, accounting and quality assurance.
"The vibrancy they bring has been enlightening," Reinarts said. "Their fresh ideas give a new or different way to accomplish the end goal."
Five, full-time employees have joined Cloverdale as a result of their internship experiences. Current interns and interns hired as employees have also been valuable spokespeople at high school and college job fairs the company attends.
"For Cloverdale, we look at our internship program as a two-way street," Reinarts said, "not only are they learning from us, we're learning from them too."
The Perfect Fit for Onsharp "Operation Intern is the perfect opportunity for us to grow our business by bringing college students and recent graduates into our company," said Joe Sandin, president of Onsharp, Inc., in Fargo. The company provides web-based software development, strategy, design and secure web hosting services to small businesses and organizations throughout the Midwest.
"Internships are an excellent way to introduce students to our company and also gauge them for future employment," he said. "We'll be able to bring in energetic, motivated students who are seeking excellent learning opportunities as well the potential for full-time employment when they graduate."
Sandin plans to hire two interns, one in web/graphic design and the other in web development. "We can provide the interns practical, real-world experience," Sandin said. "As a former intern myself, I know that internship experiences make a huge difference in distinguishing yourself from other graduates. We're very excited to be a part of this program."
How to Apply: The process for participating in the program is simple. Once employers have applied online, the Department of Commerce will send the contracts, requests for funds and the billing agreement to be signed. Employers can post their internship for free on the TeamND.org website. Throughout the internship, employers are asked to complete one progress report and an exit review upon completion.