Forty-three newly minted interns, their supervisors and high school administrators were hosted by Morris Hospital to celebrate the beginning of the Grundy County Summer Internship Program, a joint effort of Grundy County Economic Development Committee and the Grundy Area Vocational Center.
The interns come from every public high school in Grundy and will be serving their internships at 16 companies, including Morris Hospital, Lyondell-Basell and D Construction.
Recent Minooka High School grad Dakota Nelson began his internship with Metalstamp last week.
“This is a great program to be in. They really set you up with great companies,” Nelson said.
The program is meant to incentivize young people to stay in Grundy County and combat the flood of young Illinois students leaving the state, according to Erin Murphy-Frobish, vice president of human resources at Morris Hospital.
According to the Illinois Board of Higher Education, 48.4% of high school graduates enrolled in four-year universities in 2017 chose to attend out of state institutions.
Nikki Wills of GEDC said she wanted young talent in Grundy County to invest their careers back into the community.
“Our goal is to make you guys aware of the wonderful opportunities available right here in Grundy County,” Wills said. “We’re hoping to get more companies involved in the future so we can give these awesome young people great internships.”
The internships, which are all paid positions, are extremely competitive, with 130 applicants for just 43 available positions.
State Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, thanked the supervisors for investing in the future leaders of their communities before calling up each intern to introduce themselves.
“In Springfield they try to legislate internship programs, but we don’t need to legislate it. We need buy-ins from communities and schools like you… This is the best internship placement program in the state,” Rezin said.
Grundy County high school students who attend Seneca High School in LaSalle County are currently ineligible for the internship program. Wills said GDEC would consider allowing Grundy SHS students to apply during a meeting at the end of the summer.