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Program offers small businesses funds for interns

February 26, 2018
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GVSU students look over materials at a career fair at DeVos Place in downtown Grand Rapids. Photo via fb.com

A state-funded program is giving matching awards for companies to hire interns.

The Michigan Corporate Relations Network, a statewide collaboration of 15 universities, is providing $374,000 through the Small Company Internship Award Program to give students the opportunity to be hired as interns in STEM disciplines.

The program is giving up to $3,500 in matching funds for a company to hire an intern for summer 2018. Companies may apply for funding for up to two interns from either one or two MCRN schools. The maximum matching award for a company is $3,500 from each school providing an intern.

MCRN was established in 2011, with support from the Michigan Strategic Fund Board, and is supported and administered by the Michigan Economic Development Corp. It helps promote research and economic growth in the state by creating partnerships that connect Michigan's corporations to university assets.

"The program provides matching funds to help small businesses with 250 or fewer employees hire WMU students to work on STEM or STEM-related projects that are both beneficial to the company and academically relevant to students," said Lisa Garcia, director of WMU's Business Connection, an office dedicated to matching WMU's resources to the needs of the local business community.

The collaboration was established with Eastern Michigan University, Ferris State University, Saginaw Valley State University, Oakland University, Lake Superior State University, Northern Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, Central Michigan University, and University of Michigan-Flint.

As of 2017, the collaboration also includes University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Michigan State University, Wayne State University, Michigan Technological University, Western Michigan University and the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

The original six schools will each receive $35,000, enough to support about 10 to 12 internships, and the other schools are each receiving $17,500, enough to support about five to seven internships.

"The Small Company Internship Program is key to supporting the growth of small businesses and helping retain talent in Michigan," said Denise Graves, university relations director at MEDC. "In 2017, more than $412,000 in MCRN and matching money from companies funded 134 internships at 117 companies throughout the state. And after completing their internships, 83 students retained their jobs, 27 of them on a full-time basis."

Companies interested in applying to hire an intern can get more information online.

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