2023 Nobles County Internship Program

The inaugural Nobles County Internship Program, a collaboration between the Nobles County Commissioners and the Southwest Minnesota Private Industry Council (PIC), has successfully concluded its first summer. This program addressed workforce shortages and encouraged college students to consider returning to Nobles County for a summer internship.

Origins of the Program

The idea for this program initially surfaced when Don Linssen, a county commissioner, learned about a similar initiative in neighboring Martin County. Linssen saw potential in replicating the success locally and addressing workforce challenges. Years later, Nobles County received $4.2 million in funding from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which prompted Bruce Heitkamp, the Nobles County Administrator, to revisit the idea. He contacted the Southwest Minnesota Private Industry Council (PIC) to facilitate the program. After planning and discussions, the commissioners allocated $106,000 of the ARPA funds and the Nobles County Internship Program was underway.

The 2023 Internship Program

This summer, twelve college students interned at eleven distinct local businesses. These interns gained hands-on experience in their chosen fields while discovering the wealth of opportunities in their hometown.

Interns were placed in a location that complimented their area of study to gain experience in careers similar to what they plan to pursue. They received competitive pay, with hourly rates of up to $17, depending on their roles, and had the flexibility to work up to 29 hours per week.

The first year of the Nobles County Internship Program was a resounding success. Multiple interns were offered internships and job opportunities for the upcoming summer or after graduation and host sites expressed interest in participating again next year. In a survey given to interns and host sites at the conclusion of the summer, 100% of participants expressed a high level of satisfaction with the program overall. In addition, an impressive 83% of interns confirmed their intention to return to Nobles County after graduation, while the remaining 17% remained uncertain.

“I’m very impressed and pleased with Nobles County’s first year of offering Internships to area businesses. A huge “thank you” to everyone at Southwest Minnesota Private Industry Council for administering to this program. It’s a great partnership and our 2023 participants (students and businesses) appeared to be very pleased.

We were offered constructive criticism and the Commissioners stated their intent to continue the Program. I’m eager to work on the 2024 Nobles County Internship Program and to offer continual improvements as long as the program is offered. Again, many thanks to the businesses, the students, our Commissioners, and especially Southwest Minnesota Private Industry Council for offering the Nobles County Internship Program, our ‘Grow our Own’ workforce-enhancement program.”

– Bruce Heitkamp (Nobles County Administrator)

We want to thank all of the incredible host sites for providing such amazing opportunities to the interns this summer: Nobles County, Southwest Minnesota Private Industry Council, Leading Edge Credit Union, Kivu Immigration Law, Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, Henning Electric, Minnesota Soybean Processors, Hope Haven, Creative Healing Space, Bedford Industries, and Worthington Tax and Business Services.

Check out the 2023 internship booklet to read more about the 2023 Nobles County Internship Program and hear from the interns.

The Nobles County Internship Program has proven to be a valuable initiative in bridging the workforce gap, providing career opportunities to local students, and fostering community engagement. Plans are in place to continue and improve the program in the coming years, building on its successful debut.

To learn more about the program and how to be involved next year, visit the Nobles County Internship Page.

Quotes from Participants:

“Leading Edge Credit Union was proud to be a part of the Nobles County Internship Program! Not only was the program ran smoothly and efficiently, it provided us the knowledge with what graduates might be looking for in an employer and what it takes to retain workers within our communities.”

-Melissa Gehl (Leading Edge Credit Union)

“The Private Industry Council is extremely grateful for the intern we received thanks to the Nobles County Summer Internship Program. She fit right in and added an incredible amount of value to the organization. A position has been added so she can remain working with us and the great thing is, we are not the only business who participated that has done this!”

-Maria Peters (Southwest Minnesota Private Industry Council)

“I am grateful to have been an intern at Kivu, not only because I received great mentorship and learned new skills but also because I have learned a lot about myself.”

-Bridgette (Summer Intern at Kivu Immigration Law)

“This work also allowed me to get started on that process [earning my journeyman’s license] . . . I am officially a registered unlicensed electrician in the State of Minnesota”

– Vance (Summer Intern at Henning Electric)

“I want to thank the commissioners for providing me with the opportunity to find, explore and strengthen my desire and vision of what I enjoy pursuing as a profession”

– Makayla (Summer Intern at Leading Edge Credit Union)

“After college, I hope to find a job in the area and be able to give back to my community.”

– Heidy (Summer Intern at the Southwest Minnesota Private Industry Council)

“Thank you to the Private Industry Council and all of the staff that worked on this program so that all of these young people and I could have a great opportunity in the workforce.”

– Carson (Summer Intern at Worthington Tax and Business Services)

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