Opening the door to student interns

  • By Beth Pratt, Executive Director Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce
  • Friday, August 4, 2023 1:30am
  • BusinessClallam County
Beth Pratt.

Beth Pratt.

Our chambers of commerce across the North Olympic Peninsula all operate visitor information centers on behalf of our cities and regions. Most of the people who are at the door to greet our guests are volunteers, each of whom share their time and knowledge freely with all who come for information.

Need a map to waterfall trails? They will get you that map and help you find the most accessible or pet-friendly should you ask. Want a dining guide? A schedule of events for the Shipley Center? How about some lavender farm info? Check, check, check!

When joining Team Chamber, I knew I would get to work with these community-loving folks daily, but there was a kind of volunteer I hadn’t considered: student interns. And this year, we had the pleasure of working with two.

During their BA in Management program at Peninsula College, students are required to complete a 10-week, 150-hour internship. When I learned this, I spoke with one of the professors at the college to get our organization on the list. With a little waiting, we had our first student choose our Chamber during winter term as their internship location.

Kendall came with energy, community spirit, and a volunteering ethic that perfectly fit our organization. We decided to work on our Citizen of the Year and the Sequim Sunshine Festival as her projects for the term, negotiated a schedule and got started in January.

Spring term brought us an international student from Malaysia, Sing. For his projects, we worked together on the Chamber’s role in the NW Tandem Bike Rally and Irrigation Festival in May. Multilingual and energetic, like Kendall, Sing came to us with energy to learn, be a part of the community, and volunteer his time to benefit our town.

Both of these students graduated in June, and based on what we saw of their work, I expect that they will find interesting and rewarding paths in their professional lives.

Opening the door to students, eager to learn and full of youthful energy, was more rewarding and impactful for us than any of us expected. I am filled with gratitude for what they brought to us, and how they allowed us to have a part in their education. What we gained from their involvement is immeasurable, and I encourage you to consider joining the internship opportunity list.

For our international student, Sing, we also had the great pleasure of helping to find him employment after graduation, allowing him to remain in Sequim rather than return to his home country immediately.

If your business has room for an intern, I can’t recommend the experience enough. For us, we all found joy in teaching new skills, in learning modern ideas and having someone more tech-savvy than any of us in the room, and we were excited to share in their joy as they approached their graduation and new beginnings.

For those of you for whom inviting in interns is not an option, there is another way to support our college and the education of youth. You can host an international student.

As Peninsula College gears into the 2023-24 school year, its fall-term students from around the globe have lodging arranged, but there are more students to come.

Did you know that there are long-term and short-term opportunities in their housing program? There are groups of athletes who come for just weeks at a time, while some students plan to complete two- or four-year degrees. There are European and Asian students slated to arrive in early 2024 who are still in need of lodging.

The college does have a stipend for families who open their doors to these youngsters. You can opt to fold the student into your family rhythm, providing them with meals at your table and including them in your family events and outings. You can also opt to simply provide housing.

For the host, or the internship provider, the gifts are endless. You will gain so much by offering your hospitality and support. Join us in opening our doors to students. You will be glad you did.

________

Beth Pratt is the executive director of the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce.

More in Business

Todd Ortloff Show guests this week

Here is this week’s schedule for the 1 p.m.… Continue reading

EYE ON BUSINESS: This week’s meetings

Breakfast meetings with networking and educational… Continue reading

Todd Ortloff Show guests this week

Here is this week’s schedule for the 1 p.m.… Continue reading

EYE ON BUSINESS: This week’s meetings

Breakfast meetings with networking and educational… Continue reading

EYE ON BUSINESS: This week’s meetings

Breakfast meetings with networking and educational… Continue reading

Todd Ortloff Show guests this week

Here is this week’s schedule for the 1 p.m.… Continue reading

Todd Ortloff Show guests this week

Here is this week’s schedule for the 1 p.m.… Continue reading

Todd Ortloff Show guests this week

Here is this week’s schedule for the 1 p.m.… Continue reading

Todd Ortloff Show guests this week

Here is this week’s schedule for the 1 p.m.… Continue reading

EYE ON BUSINESS: This week’s meetings

Breakfast meetings with networking and educational… Continue reading

Todd Ortloff Show guests this week

Here is this week’s schedule for the 1 p.m.… Continue reading