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InternGF program adds funding, set to expand in 2021

The goal is to create a pipeline for UND students to gain experience in high-wage, in-demand industries.

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Becky Sims (left), a graphic designer for Tailorie, Inc., takes a break from a brainstorming session with intern Izzy Waite (center), and Lane Oian, a brand experience specialist. (submitted photo)
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Sponsors of InternGF program are looking to build on its past successes by expanding opportunities for local businesses and university students.

Now in its fourth year, the InternGF program will offer two application cycles for funding that businesses can use to create internships. The first cycle opened on Oct. 15 and is for internships that will run from January through August. The second cycle opens June 15 and runs through December 2021. The program was created in 2018 by the Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corporation in tandem with UND’s Center for Innovation, with the goal of creating local internships in high-wage, in-demand industries.

“We must continue to grow our community by introducing students to the incredible employers we have in our region,” said Keith Lund, EDC's president and CEO. “We are helping EDC member companies tap into the workforce pipeline and the wealth of talent available in UND students.”

New this year, in addition to the extra application cycle, is another $5,000 in funding that brings the budget for 2021 to $40,000. Half of that amount is reserved for startups within five years of establishment, as those businesses may not be able to afford an intern. The remainder is reserved for EDC member companies. Startups are eligible for a 50% match to fund an intern's salary, while EDC members are eligible for 33%. A business can apply for funding for up to two internships per year.

Applications are reviewed on a first-served basis, with the first set of reviews set to happen on Nov. 15. In the unlikely situation that any funds for that cycle remain, applications will continue to be accepted.

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Since its inception, the InternGF program has funded 40 positions in industries such as unmanned systems, engineering and supply train management.

“In the past four years, this program has been wildly successful,” said Amy Whitney, director at the Center for Innovation. “Students are gaining hands-on experience, and employers are gaining fresh perspective and interns who can contribute to their organizations.”

Izzy Waite completed an internship in September for startup company Tailorie Inc. The business is designing a smartphone lifestyle application to connect shoppers with different brands. Waite worked on the user interface and experience for that application. In her case, the internship led to a full-time job with the company.

“It seemed really like they were doing different things and it was a tech startup in North Dakota, so from that, I could just tell that these are some go-getters, and I was really intrigued by the whole thing,” she said, about her decision to apply for the internship.

Related Topics: GRAND FORKS REGION EDC
Adam Kurtz is the community editor for the Grand Forks Herald. He covers higher education and other topics in Grand Forks County and the city.

Kurtz joined the Herald in July 2019. He covered business and county government topics before covering higher education and some military topics.

Tips and story ideas are welcome. Get in touch with him at akurtz@gfherald.com, or DM at @ByAdamKurtz.

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