Nex-Gen internship impacts communities
LENORA – Fifty-six businesses across northwest and north central Kansas hosted 68 high school and college interns through this summer’s Nex-Generation Student Internship Program. Participating students received an opportunity of a lifetime, preparing them for any future career path they choose.
“Each summer, our interns receive hands-on instruction from local, business professionals in their hometowns or nearby communities,” states Nex-Generation’s Executive Director Jacque Beckman. “Unlike many internships, each intern in the Nex-Gen program is paid a base wage of at least $10 per hour.”
Several businesses in Beloit and Concordia took part in this summers internship program including Cunningham Cable with interns Cory Koetter and Evan Ouellette, OCCK and intern Maruby McQueen, Mitchell County Hospital Health Systems and intern Lyddia Eilert, North Central Kansas Technical College and intern Zach Warner and Sharp Performance in Concordia with intern Dakota Cooper.
“The Nex-Gen Internship Program is a great opportunity to not only get young adults involved in workplaces in their community, but also to aide in providing opportunities for personnel and professional growth,” said MCHHS Nurse Manager Nicki Cleveland. “Mitchell County Hospital Health Systems had the wonderful opportunity of having a Nex-Gen intern, Lyddia Eilert, in which we also gained as an employee. It was great to see Lyddia gain experience that helped her decide on a future career path in nursing. We love employing nurses of all ages and backgrounds, and we are hoping that in the future, once Lyddia is finished with nursing school, she will choose to come back to Mitchell County to live and pursue her nursing career.”
“Having Maruby on our team this summer was a wonderful experience for all,” said OCCK Beloit Regional Manager Barb Wise. “She brought new energy and helped us accomplish many things that we always put on the back burner. The list of things she accomplished for OCCK is endless.”
Wise said Maruby was able to experience all areas of the many services OCCK provides to the community.
“We are excited that Maruby wants to continue to be a part of OCCK, and we are looking forward to having her work with us when she is not in college,” said Wise.
“Nex-Generation is a well ran program that can be a great benefit for businesses in north central and northwest Kansas,” said Cunningham Cable Vice President and Outside Plant Manager Terry Cunningham. “The Hansen Foundation has given it a boost in recent years as it has really grown.The program was started to educate students on career opportunities that exist in this area. The hope is to keep the youth from moving away. This gives students a chance to see what’s available with low costs to the employer. This is a win/win for everyone.
Cory Koetter and Evan Ouellette were Cunningham’s interns this summer and are students currently enrolled in the telecommunications/IT program at the North Central Kansas Technical College Beloit location
“We’ve always tried to support NCK Tech and have given students summer internships for many years,” said Cunningham. “Cory worked in Concordia and Evan was based out of Glen Elder. They were great employees that were eager to learn.They did an excellent job for us and we enjoyed having them this summer.”
The intern students have an orientation in June with other students that are participating in a vast variety of jobs. They will then work the next few months and have a graduation in August. At their graduation, they will give a PowerPoint presentation showing their experience.
“I believe it gives the kids more purpose and focuses on their end goals rather than just showing up for work,” Cunningham said.
Dakota Cooper, son of Denise and Brian Berndt and Tracy Cooper of Glasco, interned with Sharp Performance in Concordia.
“This summer was a great learning experience through Sharp Performance,” said Cooper. “I believe that I will be able to apply a lot for a future career as a wellness center/gym director.”
If students are looking to gain skills that will set them apart from their peers –experiences that most do not achieve until after college - they need to apply.
The Nex-Generation Student Internship Program offers a variety of technical and non-technical career experiences. This year’s “graduating class” experienced careers in agriculture, nonprofit, economic development, civic engagement, automotive restoration, retail, communications, marketing, graphic design, medical, social media, heating and air conditioning, computer technology, construction, art, banking, news writing, editing, photography, administrative, physical fitness and training, customer service, culinary arts, therapy, legal, travel and tourism, and more!
“One of our main objectives is to expose students to northwest and north central Kansas workforce opportunities at an early age and encourage them to look for jobs right here at home,” said Mendi Anschutz, Nex-Tech’s Economic Development/Networking Specialist. “We launched this program through Nex-Tech in 2011 with 6 interns. Three years ago, we opened up the program to local businesses, and a true culture shift has begun. Already we are seeing students remain in the area as soon as they graduate from college. One reason is their experience interning with a business right in their own county.”
“One of the best things we can do for our youth is show them the opportunities they have right here at home,” said Heather Hartman. “The Nex-Generation intern program allows students to experience jobs in their communities and explore a field of interest. The program is also a great partnership for our businesses.”