A program offering paid, local internships for University of Nevada, Reno students was recognized at the NCET Tech Awards Thursday, March 31. Elizabeth Loun, the Pack Internship Grant Program's executive director received the "Workforce Catalyst of the Year" award from the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada.
In its second year, the Pack Internship Grant Program has expanded from offering 21 internship positions to offering 52 individual University student internships with 34 northern Nevada businesses, nonprofits and public agencies. Eight of these positions are self-funded by employers. The program partners with employers to develop mutually beneficial, substantive internship opportunities for University students. The grant money is funded by the Associated Students of the University of Nevada with student wages at $12 per hour for 120 hours.
"The program allows students to test skills they've learned in the classroom, to network with professionals in the community, to clarify and to further define their career interests, values and aspirations," Loun said.
Loun is the Nevada Career Studio's internship and employer relations coordinator and has acted as the executive director for the program since its inception in 2014. She coordinates with employers looking to participate in a funded program wanting to gain an intern position at their business. She then connects the selected organizations to the students who have completed applications and meet the program's requirements.
"Elizabeth has run an amazing program that will yield dividends for years to come," Shyla Pheasant, coordinator of entrepreneurial development for EDAWN, said. "We hope the program will grow to provide a broader reach, making the crucial connection between academic and professional careers."
The "Workforce Catalyst of the Year" was presented to the Pack Internship Grant Program and recognized Loun's role in providing excellent workforce training and placement in the community. The EDAWN organization chooses the recipient of this annual award to recognize the resources that have played crucial roles in contributing to the growth of the western Nevada community.
The Pack Internship Grant Program is funded by a portion of the ASUN budget. The grant money increased from last year's $30,000 to more than $64,000 this year.
"Outside of the classroom, internships really help to prepare students for work experiences," Caden Fabbi, president of the Associated Students of the University of Nevada, said. "They help students become stronger professionals and they make it easier for them to transition into the workplace."
Located in the William N. Pennington Student Achievement Center, the Nevada Career Studio offers help to students seeking career education at any stage of the job search.
Students interested in applying for a Pack Internship can do so via the Nevada Career Studio's website, www.unr.edu/career. Employers interested in partnering with the program can contact Loun at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more on what an internship offers students, watch this video.