Communication and collaboration produce amazing results. This past summer (2013), the Center for Rural Entrepreneurial Studies (CRES) and the Crookston Housing and Economic Development Authority (CHEDA) partnered to sponsor two University of Minnesota Crookston (UMC) students to intern for CHEDA for the summer.
This partnership was the result of multiple conversations between a variety of individuals. Craig Hoiseth, CHEDA Director, notes , “During my initial meeting with the Chancellor, I became aware of the “requirement” for students to have an internship, the high percentage of job placement for graduates, and our desire to retain as much local talent as possible was discussed.” Shortly after his conversation with UMC Chancellor Fred Wood , Hoiseth and CRES directors, Kevin Cooper and Rachel Lundbohm, were all present at a Crookston In Motion meeting. One of the destiny drivers of Crookston In Motion is economic development. A goal of the working group is to develop stronger relationships with UMC. Through this initial meeting, CHEDA and CRES were able to identify a potential internship cost-share opportunity.
After much planning, the internship cost-share was solidified and the details were worked out. CRES and CHEDA worked together to put together the job description, promote the internship, and ultimately hire two interns , Samantha Schear and Sarah Derossier, to work for CHEDA over the summer months. CRES and CHEDA each contributed funds to pay the interns over the summer. “I knew it would be a valuable thing to have CHEDA house an intern, but we needed the partnership to be able to afford to hire two paid interns,” said Hoiseth.
The role of the interns was to travel around northwest Minnesota creating a database of businesses in the region. After compiling the database, they identified businesses having the greatest potential to expand to Crookston. The internship proved to be beneficial for the students and CHEDA. The two interns had the following comments about their internship experience:
“I enjoyed traveling around the area and learning what goes in to the economic development process in Crookston.” – Samantha Schear
“In developing and compiling our database, I gained knowledge that will stay with me as I further my education and eventually pursue a career in business. “ – Sarah Derossier
The internship also benefitted CHEDA. According to Hoiseth, “This experience is so positive from CHEDA’s perspective, we may forge ahead with interns again next year!” The database will be used to approach businesses that might be interested in the possibility of expanding to Crookston.
CRES was able to help fund these two internships through a grant from the Department of Education and a grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation. CRES hopes to partner with other businesses and organizations in the region to identify and provide internship opportunities for UMC students.