Updated: Jan. 25, 2024, 10:47 a.m.| Published: Jan. 25, 2024, 10:17 a.m.
WASHTENAW COUNTY – Young people in Washtenaw County can find paid internships with local employers through a program now accepting applications for this summer.
Since 2016, SummerWorks has offered 10-week internships to teens and adults 16 to 24 who live in the county. The program provided about 80 internship placements each year, but aims to increase that to 130 internships this year. Interns are paid $15 to $17 an hour, depending on high school completion status.
“We are a community organization that’s bringing lots of employers and mentors and youth together,” said Kathleen Clancey, SummerWorks program manager. “And we’re always looking for more people to join our community and continue to build it and make it stronger.”
The program is also accepting applications from local employers to provide the paid internships this summer. Local professionals can also apply to mentor participating young people.
Employers from all fields are welcome to host an intern. Clancey said the program has worked with a wide variety of industries, including technology, educational companies as well as local employers like Destination Ann Arbor, the University of Michigan and Washtenaw County offices.
This year, SummerWorks wants to increase the number of mobility-focused and technology-related internships through a collaboration with Advance Ypsi, a Washtenaw Community College education and training initiative.
“That’s kind of the way of the future and so we want to make sure that our young adults have all of the knowledge and resources and access to those opportunities as well,” Clancey said. “Especially if Michigan is going to become a mobility central location for a lot of companies.”
Local employers who want to host a SummerWorks internship will need to commit $3,000 to $3,400 to fund the position. Employers can also apply for financial support to subsidize the internship.
Participating employers receive tips and support for recruiting and retaining Generation Z workers. This includes optional sessions on engagement and diversity, equity and inclusion practices.
Interns can be paired with professional mentors to help young people explore career opportunities, build professional networks, and develop job and leadership skills.
“We have mentors from all different fields – a lot in the health field,” Clancey said. “We’ve had a lot of teachers as well… We have some law enforcement and lawyers in the legal system. And then we have small business owners as well who are interested in giving back and helping to promote small business.”
Interns can expect to work on skills like resume writing, interviewing, and professionalism in the workplace. This summer, there will also be workshops focused on budgeting, taxes and overall financial wellness.
Although the program is mainly for young people new to having a job, interns are allowed to return to the program for up to three years. Curriculum is varied for returning interns to allow for deeper engagement, Clancey said, with opportunities to develop leadership skills.
Interested employers and mentors must apply by March 17. The deadline for young people interested in internships is March 24. For more information and to apply, visit SummerWorks website.