PADNWS-02-21-21 CHAMBER INTERNS - PHOTO

Daniel Jones, Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce 2019 board chair, outlines the organization’s intern program for a group of students and members of the Paducah Young Professionals.

The Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce is planning to survey area businesses about potential internships to match with college students looking to gain valuable work experience this summer.

The survey is part of the chamber’s effort to bring back the successful summer intern program which was held in 2018 and 2019, but not in 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns.

“This (survey) is a new step for us, but one we believe is important,” said Sandra Wilson, chamber president. “We want to be sure everyone knows about any and all jobs available.

“It’s up to the college student to apply and the employer to interview and hire.”

The chamber’s intern initiative is designed to assist interns who are working in the community to network with its growing population of young professionals; meet other interns who are working in the community; become more informed about the community; develop professional and social skills; and enjoy their summer in the area.

The chamber wants to ensure interns have a positive experience and reach the program’s ultimate goal “to bring these students back home to increase our workforce and our population,” Wilson said.

The organization is coordinating efforts with the West Kentucky Workforce Board and Four Rivers Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) to compile a comprehensive list of job opportunities.

This list will be distributed to the career services departments at area colleges and universities and available on the chamber’s website for distribution to college students who are interested in summer employment.

For businesses that have not previously had a college summer intern, a webinar is being offered by the workforce board and local SHRM chapter at 9 a.m. March 11 to provide details on how to structure a program.

“We started our intern initiative a few years back to greet our area’s summer interns and include them in local activities, especially with our Paducah Young Professionals,” Wilson said.

“These students are investing their time here, and our local businesses are investing in them through summer work. We want to encourage them to come back when they graduate to build our workforce.”

Rhiannon Jenkins, assistant vice president/treasury management and payment consultant with U.S. Bank, is co-chair of the Paducah Young Professionals.

“Retaining talented young people is crucial to the future of the Paducah area,” Jenkins said.

“This program aims to connect young people with each other and local leaders and also to show them that this is a community where they can thrive.”

The survey is open to chamber members, and non-chamber members also may participate. To receive a copy of the survey, let the chamber know about summer job opportunities, or register for the webinar, go to paducahcham ber.org or email the chamber at info@paducahchamber.org.

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