(source: The Inter-Mountain, January 30, 2020)

The Elkins-Randolph County Chamber and Davis & Elkins College have partnered to create a summer internship program which engages college students to consider Randolph County as a desirable place to pursue work, social, and civic life after graduation through the Summer Highlands Internship Program (SHIP).

Fueled by a $25,000 grant from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, ten local employers will be matched with ten students based on their career interests. Under the employers’ mentorship, the students will gain hands-on skills and learn what it is like to be a part of the Randolph County business community. The ten student cohort will be made up of five Randolph County college students pursuing their degrees outside of the county and five D&E students from elsewhere.

D&E Vice President for Enrollment and Institutional Advancement Dr. Rosemary Thomas and Chamber Executive Director Lisa Wood developed the internship program with the idea of providing businesses with talented employees who may decide to make the area their home once they graduate.

“Dr. Thomas and I learned about a similar internship program run by the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation,” stated Ms. Wood. “That impressive program inspired us to tailor the SHIP program to our needs in Randolph County. The Chamber’s vibrant community initiative, ‘to make Elkins and Randolph County a place to live, work, play, and stay’ was the driving force for the Chamber’s participation. Our hope is that these ten interns have learning experiences which engage them in local civic life. To that end, we will be reaching out to businesses, organizations, and local leaders to participate in their leadership training.”

The pilot program is scheduled to run from June 1 to July 31, 2020. The SHIP program is a paid internship with credit hours available. Interns will work four days a week (32 hours) at their assigned business/non-profit. They will spend “Mentoring Mondays” under the mentorship of program manager, Chris Jones, Director of Career Services at D&E, learning leadership and community engagement skills from local leaders. In addition, the cohort group will choose, plan, and implement a community service project by July 31st.

“We are delighted to be working together with the Chamber to provide opportunities for our students and other college students to extend their learning outside the classroom,” added Dr. Thomas. “This has long been a part of a D&E education, and we consider it an honor and a privilege to provide oversight for our students and Randolph County students home for the summer as well. As President Wood reminds us often, ‘What is good for Randolph County is good for the College, and what is good for the College is good for Randolph County.’ This mutually beneficial partnership is the next example of our strong collaboration. Together we will offer this amazing opportunity to students, and we are grateful for The Benedum Foundation’s Investment.”

Businesses interested in hiring a SHIP intern, should contact Lisa Wood at 304.636.2617 or [email protected] Businesses do not have to be a member of the Chamber to participate, but are, of course, always welcome to join!
Students interested in applying may contact Chris Jones at [email protected] A digital application will be emailed to students interested in applying for the SHIP program.

A: The mission of the Elkins-Randolph County Chamber of Commerce is to advocate, educate, and network to enhance business opportunities in Elkins-Randolph County. The Community Investment Program of the Elkins-Randolph Chamber of Commerce is a means by which organizations may secure financial assistance for programs and/or projects that will support the development of business opportunities.

Q: Will the Elkins-Randolph Chamber Community Investment Program fund an entire project or program?
A: Entire large projects or programs will not be funded solely by ERCCC. Organizations or individuals should individually raise a portion of the required funds and gain financial support of other organizations.

Q: What else does the Community Investment Committee consider?
A: Community Investment applications must:
• Establish a need, quality, and effectiveness of the program and/or project.
• Exhibit genuine commitment toward the program and/or project.
• Identify how the program and/or project will enhance the development of business opportunities of Randolph County.
• Must represent the common interest of business in Randolph County.
• Project to include goals to be achieved from funding.
• Merits of the project are reviewed by the committee with final decisions made by Board of Directors.

Q: How much money can I receive?
A: Each Community Investment application is reviewed on its own merit and the committee will determine the dollar amount awarded not to exceed $30,000.


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