FAIRMONT — The Minnesota Valley Action Council/Martin County youth summer internship program is in full swing. All 14 interns were on hand to share their positions with the Martin County commissioners at their Tuesday meeting.
The program, which began in 2012, is funded annually by the county as it aims to provide work experience for local youth while showing them the career opportunities available in the area.
Tammie Hested, coordinator with MVAC, leads the program. The program is open to people between the ages of 18 and 25 who are currently attending a two or four year old and whose family lives in Martin County.
Once applications are received, Hested tries to match students with a job location in the county that will provide them with relevant work experience. The program helps both parties, as the company gets additional help in the form of an intern for the summer months with the possibility that they want to return for full-time employment after graduation.
“Part of our logic is that we want you to come back and live here. There are good jobs here. It’s a good place to live.” said commissioner Elliot Belgard.
On Tuesday, Hested said all the students had good experiences so far. They then shared with the Commissioners where they attend school and where they work during the summer.
Derek Hughes will be a junior at Gustavus Adolphus College. He majored in political science and did an internship at the city of Fairmont. Madison Northwick will also be a junior at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. She majored in graphic design and did an internship at Minuteman Press.
Lydia Steinhaus will be a junior at Concordia University-Chicago but will study at Cambridge next semester. She is an education student and is doing an internship at the Fairmont Community Education and Recreation. Jackson Basset will be a sophomore at Iowa Lakes Community and Technical College. He is studying environmental studies and water quality and is interning at Martin County Soil and Water.
Jacob Rahn also attends Iowa Lakes and is in the electrical technology program. He is doing an internship at Easy Automation at Welcome. Megan Reischel attends Southeast Technical College in Sioux Falls and studies phlebotomy. She is doing an internship at the laboratory of the Mayo Clinic Health System-Fairmont.
Ethan Grunewald will be a sophomore at Luther College. He studied computer science and mathematics and did an internship at Kahler Automation. Jacalyn Reischel will be a sophomore at the University of South Dakota. She is studying Communication and Behavioral Sciences, with a speech pathology track and doing an internship in the Department of Physical Therapy at Mayo Clinic Health System-Fairmont.
Garret Myren will be a senior at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He studied finance and did an internship at Sweet Financial. Brooke Van Geldern will be a sophomore at the University of Minnesota-Mankato. She is a history major and is interning at the Martin County Historical Society/Pioneer Museum.
Annie Schaefer has just completed her freshman year at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. She plans to transfer to a veterinary tech program and will do an internship this summer at Willow Pet Hospital. Maddy Schwieger will be a sophomore at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. She is studying biology and doing an internship at the Mayo Clinic Health System-Fairmont.
Josie Bleess will be a sophomore at Grinnell College and is styling English. She is interning at the Martin County Library. Katelyn Freese will be a junior at South Dakota State University and is studying psychology. She is on an internship at Eunoia.
After the student introductions, Belgard commented on how the matches seem perfect this year, as students work in a location that closely matches their studies.
Schaefer began her internship at Willow Pet Hospital in late May, and the experience has already proven beneficial. She said she was already thinking about changing majors to animal science and that her internship at Willow Pet Hospital helped her decide what she wanted to do. Returning to school in the fall, she plans to transfer to a veterinary technology program.
Schaefer said he heard about the program from his mother and went to the website and watched videos that former trainees had made detailing their experiences.
“I sent in an application saying I was looking for something with animals and Tammie wrote back and said they had worked with the pet hospital before and I thought that sounded interesting . The rest is history. she said laughing.
So far, she said she feels she has gained a lot more hands-on experience than others her age.
“It was a good opportunity to do things that I wouldn’t normally be able to do at this stage of my life,” says Schäfer.
She encourages any student who wants to get off to a good start and gain hands-on experience to look into the program.
“This is without a doubt the best opportunity I’ve had so far” she says.
On the other hand, Myren is further along in his school career as he will be a senior in the fall. He said that as he went deeper into his finance major over the past school year, he realized that Sweet Financial would be the best local company to help him learn more about his major.
“Work is very different from learning in books”, he said.
He contacted Hested and had an interview with Sweet Financial and has now been working for two weeks. He said that so far the internship has helped confirm that this is the area he wants to go into.