Lincoln University's Inaugural Internship Program Gets High Marks from Students and Local Businesses
Business is looking up in the capital city, thanks to a pilot program promoting local internships for Lincoln University students. The Community Internship Program, a strategic partnership between Lincoln and the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce, has chamber members nurturing high hopes for an expanded employment pool.
"The number one challenge facing our members today is workforce," says Gary Plummer, chamber president and CEO. "This internship program is another opportunity for employers to develop a relationship with young talent that can develop into something that lasts longer than just a semester or two."
The program placed 17 student interns with 10 local businesses during its inaugural fall semester. It has worked so successfully that it will be expanded in the spring semester.
Fall interns brought a variety of academic backgrounds to their positions, majoring in computer information systems, accounting, business administration, wellness and others. Participating employers included Capital Regional Medical Center, Central Bancompany Inc., Jefferson City Chamber of Commerce, Legends Bank, Modern Litho, Scholastic, SSM Health, The Missouri Bar, Unilever and Williams-Keepers LLC.
The experiences they offered the students were varied and valuable, Tommesha Wiggins discovered. Her time at The Missouri Bar provided the perfect opportunity for the junior from Jefferson City who is studying computer information systems. "I was able to develop an application and do a variety of tasks," she says. "I handled phishing emails, installed Windows 11, created a database, learned about stored procedures and many more things."
Obadiah Amponsah, a junior from Ghana, gained worthwhile experience in informational technology at Capital Region Medical Center where he was kept busy imaging and deploying computers to physicians and nurses. "It was great," he says.
For Javan Gray, a semester interning as a market research analyst at commercial printer Modern Litho gave the business administration student greater confidence as he developed teamwork and time-management skills. "It was amazing," says Gray, a senior from Trelawny, Jamaica. "I never imagined working in a friendlier workplace. The staff here has so much respect and integrity, not only to their co-workers but also toward their clients."
Lincoln hopes to double the program for spring semester. "We are incredibly excited to bring additional opportunities and recognition to our students," says Beth Jordan, Lincoln's director of career services. "Our goals for the spring include working with 30 to 40 businesses and placing between 40 and 50 interns."
Feedback from chamber members has been overwhelmingly positive, Plummer adds. "I'm optimistic that we have only 'scratched the surface' on possibilities thus far."