BHSU, SEDC Create Paid Internship Program

Alex Portal | Black Hills Pioneer | October 9, 2021

In an effort to bolster the local workforce and keep students graduating from Black Hills State University in the area, the Spearfish Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) has partnered with the university to create the new Workforce Development Internship Program.

“SEDC’s primary role will be to identify Spearfish businesses that could benefit from this new partnership and to serve as a conduit to BHSU,” explained SEDC Executive Director Kory Menken.

“In standing up a Career Center, we plan to work much closer with area businesses to develop internship programs, career fairs and job placements. Starting with SEDC on this exciting partnership was a perfect way to launch this new initiative,” added BHSU President Dr. Laurie S. Nichols.

As BHSU brings the students to the table, SEDC will supply the business opportunities. The program will provide part-time, paid work experience to BHSU students in positions related to their course of study as well as provide local businesses with affordable help and a potential funnel of future employees.

Internships will last one semester, with employers offering up to 10-20 hours per week. Students will earn one credit per 50 work hours up to three credits. Employers will be asked to offer, an internship position with a wage of at least $10 an hour, as well as a variety of learning experiences to their interns such as on-the-job and applied learning, observation, and theoretical learning. Employers are expected to schedule regular check-ins with their interns to assess progress and any concerns, participate in a mid-term intern review with the BHSU internship coordinator, and complete a post-internship intern evaluation. Aside from completing the projects and tasks assigned by the employer, student interns will be required to submit bi-weekly reports and a final report to the BHSU Internship Coordinator as well as complete a post-internship employer evaluation.

BHSU and SEDC have each contributed $10,000 into the program to help employers pay their interns. The program will fund 50% of each intern’s pay up to $2,000. Employers will be responsible for compensating each student intern for hours worked beyond that.

Employers would be reimbursed at the end of the internship.

“Supporting internship opportunities is an important component of SEDC’s workforce development strategy,” Menken said. “We look forward to partnering with BHSU on establishing a pipeline of talent for our Spearfish employers.”

SEDC will host a “Lunch and Learn” for interested participants to hear more about the program at noon, Oct. 27 and the Joy Center.

Spearfish businesses that are able to regularly provide internship opportunities for students and have the ability to potentially move them into full-time, sustainable careers after graduation are encouraged to apply for the program. The application deadline for the 2022 spring semester is Nov. 15.

For more information contact SEDC by calling (605) 642-3832, or emailing office@spearfishdevelopment.com.

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