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Over $176K grant from Harvest Foundation will fund summer internship program

DeWitt House, senior program officer at The Harvest Foundation and Sarah Hodges, director of tourism and talent development at the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp.

MARTINSVILLE – A grant totaling $176,140 from The Harvest Foundation will support the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp. as it develops a summer internship program starting in 2020.

“Building and growing a strong workforce pipeline is necessary to keep Martinsville and Henry County moving forward,” said DeWitt House, senior program officer. “We’re focusing on attracting young professionals for competitive internships and giving them an advance look at our community. It gives us an opportunity to put our best foot forward and showcase our first-class amenities. At the same time, we’re able to provide a potential pool of employees for local businesses to access for future open positions.”

The summer internship program is a one-year pilot that aims to recruit at least 15 companies to employ interns.

The companies will provide $1,000 with a $3,000 match provided by the grant.

Interns will be sought from area colleges and universities with recruiters visiting campus job fairs.

Available internship positions also will be heavily promoted on social media.

An internship coordinator will work with employers to develop job descriptions and conduct regular site visits to monitor progress.

All applications will be reviewed by employers who can provide input on the selection process.

An evaluation component of the grant will gauge its success for both interns and employers with a primary goal of employers eventually hiring those interns for open positions.

Through the grant funding, interns also will have the opportunity to participate in Disney’s Approach to Leadership Excellence Capstone Program, a world-class training course provided by Disney Institute.

Outside of work, interns will be encouraged to participate in community service projects and civic engagement opportunities.

Through a partnership with Carlisle School, the program will include a summer housing component for interns not local to the region.

Eligible interns will be required to sign a housing agreement including rules and regulations for their stay.

“The Martinsville-Henry County EDC is grateful to The Harvest Foundation for its continued support of the community’s comprehensive economic development efforts,” said Mark Heath, president and CEO of the Martinsville-Henry County EDC. “Now more than ever, there is competition for labor on a global basis. While the Internship initiative is but one effort to help identify and bring future talent to our region, it is a critical component we believe will pay huge dividends.”

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