The new Intern website will match more Maine students with businesses for work internships.

By Ramona du Houx

October 5,, 2010

e501ccfb6573d8a0-wDSC_0006-300x196Maine State Chamber of Commerce President Danna Conners, listens to Governor John Baldacci unveil the chamber’s at the state house. Photo by Ramona du Houx
“All students or businesses will have to do is go directly to to log their information in, and see the opportunities that await them,” said Joyce LaRoche, who designed the website for the Maine State Chamber of Commerce modeling it after a successful program in Indiana. “Over five hundred jobs came from the Indiana program, which started in 2006.”

All students will be able to create profiles, including uploading their resumes, beginning in November., should begin matching students with businesses in January, 2011.

Governor John Baldacci made the announcement October 4, 2010 about the website surrounded by business leaders and some officials from Maine colleges and universities participating in the program.

“The initiative is designed to give college and university students real world experience at Maine companies while they are in school, so students can experience what fits for them, and more businesses can discover our trained workforce. It will build on the current career development programs that Maine colleges and universities offer bringing together all the separate programs that exist under one umbrella,” said Governor Baldacci.

“We look to work with employers statewide to put together high-quality internship experiences for the employer as well as the student that, with any luck, will turn into real jobs for students staying here in Maine,” said LaRouche.

The seeds for came from the state’s first Governor’s Job Summit held last February cosponsored by the Maine Chamber of Commerce and the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD). At the summit some businesses raised concerns that they couldn’t find skilled workers for their jobs. At the same time students too often leave the state because they don’t’ think there are jobs in Maine that fit their special talents.

“This initiative fosters important connections between Maine businesses and our future work force. It will connect students to opportunities that they may not know are already in Maine, and businesses to eager skilled students,” said the Governor.

Maine’s institutions for higher learning have internship opportunities but they have never been coordinated throughout the state working with the Maine State Chamber of Commerce. As the collaboration grows businesses will continue to work with Maine’s institutions of higher learning keeping them abreast to what new skills the changing business environment will require.

“Our workforce needs to be closely aligned with the needs of our business community and our changing economy,” said the Governor. “ will help ensure that we have a workforce educated for today’s skilled jobs. A highly skilled workforce will in turn encourage more businesses to locate or expand in the State. This program will help keep our talent from walking out the door. So our future workforce will be able to live, work and raise their families here while our businesses and economy grow.”

All of Maine’s institutions of higher education are taking part.

“It matches up the skill sets of our students with the companies that need them,” said Dr. Charles Lyons or York County Community College. “It’s the key to the future of the Maine economy.”

Hannaford Brothers Co. and Barber Foods have already signed up to the program.

“We are excited about this program. All of us here today are about improving the economy, it’s on everyone’s agenda, and we believe this program will make a significant difference,” said Dana Connors, the chamber’s president. “The reality is fifty percent of students who have internships end up being employed by the company conducting the internship.”

Connors, with the help of the DECD, will aggressively encourage state businesses to provide internships for students.

“This program works with the Governor’s initiative to regionalize economic development, from the grass roots,” said Brian Hodges, Deputy director of DECD. “We have specialists that will work with the chamber to get the news about this initiative out to businesses.”

University of Maine System Chancellor Richard Pattenaude said, “Internships are the longest job interviews students will ever have. This adds value to the work of the campuses and this will be a partnership that will be very important for our students.”