ISHPEMING - For high school or college students, an internship can be a way to get a foot in the door at a company, an experience that could make a big difference in landing that first job.
But how does a student get that internship?
Community Ties, a project run by Michigan State University, aims to make the search a bit easier for students in Marquette County with an internship competition.
"There's still a lot of resources for youth in the community," said Becky Roth, a graduate research assistant with Community Ties.
The project focuses on identifying opportunities for young people within their communities so that after graduation, students aren't forced to leave to find work. Students at Ishpeming High School have previously worked with Community Ties to produce a Web site about the town and its history.
The competition asks high school and college students to write about their ideal internship - what field, the type of company, what they'd like to learn. Businesses and nonprofits in Marquette County are then asked to write about their ideal interns.
One high school and one college student will eventually be matched with businesses looking for interns. Interns will be paid through grant funding, so businesses can have the benefit of having an intern without having to pay.
Students and businesses must be registered users of the Community Ties Web site at communityties.us/marquette. Registration is free of charge. The deadline to apply is Dec. 1, with both internships beginning Jan. 1 and running through April.
Interns would be paid for about 10 hours per week, between $8.50 and $9.50 per hour.
"It's really about matching them up," Roth said.
The competition and the Community Ties project are focused on alerting students to the less obvious job possibilities in the community.
"The big thing students have expressed most interest in is technology," Roth said.
Businesses outside of Marquette County that are willing to allow an intern to telecommute are also welcome to apply.
Community members have already expressed interest in participating in the project. Among those supporting the initiative are Tawni Ferrarini from the Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship at Northern Michigan University and Kerry Valesano from the Lake Superior Community Partnership.
Community Ties has been focusing on efforts in Ishpeming, but students and businesses from other communities are also welcome to apply to the competition.
Other counties in Michigan working with Community Ties include Grand Traverse, Oscoda and Otsego.