MP Chamber Alliance hosting internship information event

By Gretchen Teske, Mt. Pleasant News


Recognizing local talent and giving it a place to grow is the goal of the Mt. Pleasant Chamber Alliance.

On Friday, Sept. 21, the chamber will host ?Building a Talent Pipeline,? an event aimed at informing local chamber members the importance of internships in the workforce. The afternoon will consist of guest speakers, a panel of students and informational exhibits. The half-day program will include lunch and go from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. in the Howe Student Activity Center on the Iowa Wesleyan Campus.

Mt. Pleasant Chamber Executive Vice President Kristi Ray says the event offers an opportunity for businesses to learn about the value of interns and why offering opportunities is important for young professionals. ?An intern is not just someone you bring in and set them down and let them stuff envelopes,? she said. ?This will give members tips on how to offer good internships so the students get something out of it and so does the company.?

The first speaker will be Mary Bontrager, from the Greater Des Moines Partnership. She will be talking about a similar program that takes place in Des Moines and offering tips and information about what has worked to help them get interns, give them a good experience and keep them in the area. Also speaking will be three business professionals from Henry County and Beth Townsend, Director of Iowa Workforce Development.

Townsend will be speaking about not only internships, but apprenticeships. Ray feels that the term ?apprenticeships? often only gets associated with the trades industry but says they have evolved and offer great opportunities for businesses and employees alike. The student panel will consist of Iowa Wesleyan students who have done internships. They will speak on what they liked, disliked and why they chose their internships. Ray hopes that by hearing their perspective, companies will have a better understanding of how to provide a successful internship experience for them.

Ray says the value of internships is immeasurable for both the company and the intern because each gets something unique out of it. For interns, they learn about what an employer looks for and get work experience in a field unknown to them. For businesses, they learn to delegate, stay organized and have the potential for future employees. ?Internships are threefold,? she said. ?It?s good for the employees, it?s good for the intern and it helps us to find that next generation of workers.?

Finding and retaining the next generation of workers is also a goal of Ray?s. She says that Mt. Pleasant alone has 300 jobs available and not enough workers. She hopes by companies offering internships, people are able to find jobs they enjoy and settle in the area to become the next generation of school board members, Rotary members and councilmen the city needs to be sustainable. ?We have to have that younger generation that likes a small town and that wants to raise their kids in a small town,? she said. ?We have to do everything we can to keep them here.?

Registration forms are available at the Mt. Pleasant Chamber Alliance building, 124 S. Main St. The registration form and payment are both due by Friday, Sept. 14.