InternGF program draws record number of applicants

Funding, in the amount of $30,000, was granted to create internships with local start-up companies.

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Keith Lund, president and CEO of the Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corporation, said the EDC has a “strong pipeline” of businesses across the nation that would be good candidates for LIFT loans should the program be continued. Submitted photo

The Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corporation and UND’s Center for Innovation have received a record number of applicants to a program that creates internships for start-up companies.

In its fourth year, the InternGF program received requests for funding totaling nearly $62,000, of which $30,000 was awarded, to create positions for the 2021 spring and summer semesters. Since its inception, the InternGF program has resulted in the creation of 40 internships across a variety of fields. The program is meant to assist an employer’s workforce recruitment and retention efforts, while introducing UND students to career and entrepreneurial opportunities in greater Grand Forks.

“The increase in the amount of applicants demonstrates the impact of InternGF and is promising for the future workforce of our region,” said Keith Lund, president and CEO of the EDC. “It shows a strong and increasing desire of the region’s employers to retain graduates which, in turn, helps grow Grand Forks. It also allows us to introduce talented UND students to the incredible career opportunities we have in our region.”

Mobile Recon Systems is among the companies that received funding through the most recent application cycle. The company relocated to Grand Forks from Kentucky in September to take advantage of the region’s unmanned aerial systems ecosystem and the pool of potential employee candidates from UND. The company manufactures drones that can carry as much as 200 pounds.

“So far, nearly half of our employees are UND graduates,” said Tom Nickell, CEO of Mobile Recon Systems. “The InternGF program makes it possible for us to continue to tap into the skills being developed at UND and, hopefully, have these internships evolve into full-time jobs with us.”


InternGF offers up to $3,500 to offset an intern’s salary. Employers can apply for up to two internships per year. Eligible applicants must be an early-to-mid-stage startup or a member organization of the EDC that can offer an internship not routinely found in the greater Grand Forks region. Startup companies are eligible for a match of 50%, and EDC member companies are eligible for a match of 33%.

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, or DM at @ByAdamKurtz.

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