“This is the year of the intern,” declared Ted Carter, President of the University of Nebraska, who spoke at a Face the Chamber luncheon recently. President Carter has made access for students and businesses to internship opportunities a priority across the University of Nebraska system this year.
The Lincoln Chamber could not agree more with this approach, and we fully support the university in these efforts. Recruitment of nearly graduated students to Lincoln for summer internships at Lincoln businesses continues to provide excellent opportunities for both students and companies to look for growth opportunities.
This is work the Chamber has led for years at a local level. In 2017, the Chamber formed the MyTern program as a way to recruit more interns. MyTern is a program led by the Lincoln Chamber’s Partnership for Economic Development that connects interns from a variety of backgrounds, industries and hometowns with engaging activities and networking opportunities to connect to our community, giving them an inside look at the best parts of living and working in Lincoln.
We know that interns that get to experience Lincoln’s amenities and expand their social networks with their peers are more likely to return to their company for a full-time job in the future. And that means, we get to compete to keep them in Lincoln.
MyTern kicked off with a tailgate at Haymarket Park for a Lincoln Saltdogs game in mid-June. Other events throughout the summer include exclusive networking events and two “Table for Ten” lunches that gives interns a glimpse of work/life balance in Lincoln if they choose to build their careers here.
Jobseekers have more options than ever before. Chamber members and other business leaders across the state continue to share that workforce is their number one competitive challenge. Fields such as healthcare, IT, manufacturing, education and many others are facing historic workforce shortages in Nebraska. It is imperative that the Chamber leads programs to better retain young professionals in Lincoln.
President Carter’s presentation to nearly 200 Chamber members underlined the mission-critical nature of programs like MyTern. The partnership of education institutions with the private sector is the only sustainable approach to workforce development in states like Nebraska. The work of our colleges and universities to produce graduates with the skills needed for professional employment opportunities is perhaps more important now than ever before. President Carter’s recent editorial in the Lincoln Journal Star notes that the time to act is now.
“It’s time to do more—create more opportunities for students, form more partnerships with local businesses, offer more internships that will lead to great-paying jobs right here in the state,” Carter says. He concludes by noting that “workforce development is a statewide challenge—and a national competition. With our shared bold vision for economic growth, I believe Nebraskans will compete to win.”
We thank President Carter for his leadership and encourage any Lincoln company that hires interns to get them enrolled in MyTern. We are excited to show interns what Lincoln can offer, whether for one summer, a first job after graduating, or a whole career.