Grant funded internships to help 150 Simpson students over 3 years


by Brittany Robb, Editor-in-Chief

Simpson College students will once again have internships funded through a grant from the Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation.

Following last year’s Career Ready Internship Grant which was used to fund 90 internships for Simpson juniors and seniors, the second grant will substantially increase in length, spanning from January 2016 to May 2018.

Bobbi Meyer, director of career development and civic engagement, saw a 100 percent retention or graduation rate in the 90 internship recipients from last year. The new grant will fund 150 internships over the three year period and help students in financial need fund a valuable work experience.

The goals of the grant are to help upperclassmen students with financial need, as well as foster relationships with new partners for the college. The stipulations for an eligible internship experience are that the student is of junior or senior standing with financial aid needs greater than $1440, and the internship is with a company or department that has not previously had a paid internship experience.

“Last year, it was a lot more students were bringing companies to us,” Meyer said. “It’s hard to say this year because we funded so many last year if students will have that many that are considered new or if we will have to help more with that process. But so far it’s been about 50 percent bringing companies in mind.”

Students may seek out an employer to fund a new internship experience, or check CareerPaths to apply for the positions posted on behalf of employers. The majority of past internships funded by the grant were with non-profits or startups, while corporate companies are still eligible. Even if the company has an internship program, as long as the position itself is new it is eligible for the grant.

Since one of the goals of Great Lakes is to help the college sustain an active internship funding program on its own, there is a chance in three years another grant will not be an option. With that potential future obstacle, the college is tasked with coming up with an alternative plan over these three years.

“My inclination from working with Great Lakes is that since they are funding us for three years, they’re giving us the chance to institutionalize it,” Meyer said. “I find it unlikely it would continue to be funded by Great Lakes.”

As far as a plan for continuing the program beyond May 2018, career development is working closely with the advancement office and cabinet members to find the best solution for funding.

“There are some colleges that build this into their advancement offerings for donors to be able to endow scholarships or endow funds to these kinds of experiences,” Meyer said. “I know that’s something the office of advancement is interested in and is hoping to use these three years to collect enough data to be able to see that as a value.”

Meyer highlighted the campus cooperation behind this endeavor, from the business office to financial aid and members of the faculty.

The first round of approved internships will be considered Nov. 25, with more being approved at the end of each month throughout the remainder of the grant.