The internship program at Lorain County Community College is going to receive an expansion of opportunities in 2017 due to a career-ready internship grant from the Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates.
Founded in 1967, Great Lakes is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting students by preparing them for postsecondary education and with student loan repayments. This will mark the second grant the organization has bestowed onto LCCC; the previous being the DASH Emergency grant for low-income students who are struggling financially. Only 16 colleges were chosen around the country to receive this grant, three of them are located in Ohio.
The new grant will primarily focus on producing internships in nonprofit organizations. Some of the non-profit organizations that LCCC has a current relationship with will be involved in creating internships for students. Groups such as the Oberlin Community Services, YWCA, Lorain County Urban League, and Palace Theater are just a few that LCCC will be working further with. In addition, the Small Business Development Center on campus also has a grant to work with nonprofit groups as well.
This grant will create an estimated 60 internships at LCCC, according to the Chronicle Telegram. Although the college has a strong intern program, the real challenge is finding students to take advantage of the opportunities. Getting the word out to students is difficult; especially when there are many students who have part-time or full time jobs.
“Often students are already working, so they think ‘How do I do an internship and go to school and work?’” said Marcia Jones, manager of LCCC’s career services.
One method that is being looked at is targeting students who work on campus. Since career services manages student employment on campus, those are the students they’re the closest to.
“If we could figure out how to connect them to things they’re doing career wise, in terms of their education, we could create some nice synergy there for internships,” said Jones. Moreover, because career services works almost exclusively with paid internships, it gives students an opportunity to move away from a job that is not career focused to an internship that is career focused and provides long-term employment.
Staff across campus will be meeting to discuss the best group of students to fill the internships and to develop a strategy to reach out to a broader group of local nonprofits. A meet and greet may be hosted by the college to bring interested nonprofits onto campus to share information about the grant.