8th Annual Intern Connect helping students connect with businesses and community again

Posted at 10:39 PM, Jun 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-06 22:44:17-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — We’ve heard about so many things that were cancelled in 2020, and one thing many may not have thought of was internships.

With so many people out of work or working from home, there were much fewer opportunities for college students and recent graduates to job shadow and learn about a particular career or company.

Thanks to Hello West Michigan, later this month some of what was lost in 2020 can be made up. The local organization is hosting its 8th annual Intern Connect event on June 23rd.

Rachel Gray, the executive director of Hello West Michigan describes the event as “A professional development conference for young interns. And it’s really a chance for them to get some professional development, some learning things that they can take back to their office right away, but also connects them with companies and the community right here in West Michigan.”

Gray says national and local data shows that 55% of internships convert into full-time work, and it’s a big benefit for employers too.

“So companies can really benefit from internship programs, whether you have one or one hundred interns. And the reason is, because an intern, they are really the start of your talent pipeline,” Gray explained to Fox 17.

Typically this event is only open to current and local interns, but this year its open to any student in any location, and Gray says they’re hoping for 500 interns to turn out.

“Intern Connect is the largest gathering of interns in the region. So you know, if you are a student, even if you don't have a position that is labeled as an internship, maybe you're a co-op apprentice, maybe you're a student who just didn't land an internship this summer because of COVID, this is still a great opportunity for you to come and attend.”

The cost is $25 and all registered attendees also get a series of five virtual connection sessions after the event, as Gray explained.

“These five virtual connection sessions that come up in July and August. Those are really individualized, they're really personalized and interns have the opportunity to talk directly with local professionals and ask more questions and learn about what it's like and follow a career path. And then in addition to those virtual connection sessions, we also publish the intern inform, which is a weekly e-newsletter to interns in the summer. And that's a great way to again, just stay engaged throughout the summer.”

For information on the 8th annual Intern Connect or any jobs openings that Hello West Michigan is sharing, check out their website.