O’Brien offers insight into implementation of Internship+

The Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance Internship+ Program was created to add value to internships with an educational lunch series designed especially for area interns.

The Growth Alliance has several goals for this program.

First and foremost, the main priority is that all interns have a positive experience during their time in Fort Dodge, with the ultimate goal to return to the region for full employment.

Through this program, they hope to add value to the companies offering the internship and create awareness of the industries in the region.

Along with that, if the intern has a positive experience, the Growth Alliance is hoping they go back to school and tell their friends, family and classmates what the Internship+ Program did to help them succeed.

Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance’s Economic Development Director Kelly Halsted acknowledges: “We are kicking off our fourth year of our Internship+ Program. We try to add something new each year and improve upon the program. We have had continual support from the companies in the region. These companies provide the practical experience, and we provide soft skills training to make them successful in their future career.”

This year, the Internship+ Program will be managed by me, the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance learning associate. I graduated from Iowa State University with a double major in Management and Marketing. I am originally from Glidden and I’m very excited for this opportunity to work for the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance and get involved in Fort Dodge’s community.

This year, the Growth Alliance’s Internship+ Program will host 24 interns from local businesses including Cargill, Fort Dodge Convention and Visitors Bureau, the City of Fort Dodge, Woodruff Construction, Elanco, Spin Markket, Snyder & Associates, Decker Truck Lines, and McClure Engineering Co.

I am so grateful to be a part of Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance. I was welcomed with open arms my first day on the job. It has been so easy coming to work every day because everyone in the office is so fun, supportive, informing and open to help me learn the ropes of all this business has to offer. More importantly, I am so excited to get our internship program up and running. I think this program is a tremendous opportunity for interns to get involved in the community, make connections, add value to their internship performance, and experience learning opportunities through our Lunch and Learns.

Overall, I hope to provide a positive experience for each intern during this program, as well as present the quality of life amenities Fort Dodge has to offer. The Internship+ Program is something I wish I would have had the opportunity to experience in the past. I can’t wait to help build this program, as well as build relationships and connections with all the interns.

The Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance stands confident with this program, and they are positive it will continue to add great value to each individual’s summer experience in Fort Dodge.

The plus in this program is that it will provide learning opportunities during a series of Lunch and Learns, which will take place every other week for one and a half hours. Topics proposed during the sessions are: leadership, personality assessment, financials, team work, dining etiquette and behavioral interviewing.

Luke Hugghins, a former Internship+ Program participant and current Fort Dodge Young Professionals board member said, “I felt the Internship+ Program shined a positive light on areas and opportunities in the community that otherwise may have gone unnoticed for local individuals, and those from out of town as well. It was an efficient way to quickly build a network of young professionals experiencing similar stages of life around Fort Dodge. This allowed for an easy transition into the Fort Dodge Young Professionals organization when the time for full-time employment came. Our firm has enrolled our interns in the program each year, and will continue to do so.”


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