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MEDP Spark - WORK Harder, get Smarter

Jul 11, 2019

MEDP Spark, Volume 4, Issue 7 ~ July 2019

Career Bound interns and McMinnville WORKS Interns
Interns from the MEDP Career Bound Program and the McMinnville WORKS Internship Program

As another mild-weathered Oregon summer rolls around in McMinnville, high school and college students alike begin to unwind from the stress of the freshly completed school year. While some of these young people relish in the lack of a morning alarm, attend music festivals, hike on nearby trails, and bask in the glow of the Oregon sunshine, 19 young professionals are making a name for themselves in McMinnville. Through the McMinnville WORKS Internship Program and the new Career Bound program, these individuals are learning firsthand what it takes to transition in the workplace and make lasting connections.

WORK’in Hard to Make a Living

The interns of 2019 gathered for a tour of Downtown McMinnville and a Professional Development workshop on Marketing Yourself.
The interns of 2019 gathered for a tour of Downtown McMinnville and a Professional Development Workshop on marketing yourself.

Established in 2013, the McMinnville WORKS Internship Program commenced this year’s program on June 10, 2019, with 13 participants working in a variety of positions throughout McMinnville. Each year the McMinnville Economic Development Partnership (MEDP) recruits potential businesses in the fall to host summer internships. To receive an internship, prospective candidates send in one application in January which is then processed and distributed by MEDP to a number of host sites around McMinnville. This streamlined application process allows students to have one less thing on their plate as they look for summer internships. In addition to increased accessibility, students selected to be interns through MEDP are then guaranteed a paid, 9 week, project-based, full-time, summer internship. Gone are the days of young individuals securing an internship only to then schlep trays of detailed coffee orders for CEOs. No, WORKS interns are given projects that create a real impact, garnering hands-on job experience with the support of dedicated co-workers acting as mentors. Marketing Intern at Fackler Construction, Maddison Matthews, said of her experience, “My favorite thing about my company is the people. My supervisors, co-workers, and even fellow interns are all so welcoming and supportive. It's an awesome thing to feel comfortable enough not only to ask for help, but to promote my own ideas and creatively solve problems.”

On Wednesdays we do Professional Development

In addition to the standard workweek, interns attend weekly Professional Development Workshops taught by expert speakers from the community. Presentation topics range from civic participation to project management. Each gathering gives interns a chance to learn about applicable life topics they may not receive in traditional formats of education. These learning adventures grant interns the opportunity to not only gain valuable insight but also form connections both throughout McMinnville and with each other. This year’s intern group represents career pathways in marketing, project management, communications, engineering, and more. The WORKS Internship Program Coordinator and fellow intern through MEDP, Shelby Behr, comments, “It feels so empowering to be in such important roles. We were given so much trust and responsibility the second we walked in the door on day one. It has been a wonderful introduction to the workforce.”

Interns tour Solid Form and learn about project management from Owner, Deven Paolo. Interns tour Solid Form and learn about project management from Owner, Deven Paolo.
Interns tour Solid Form and learn about project management from Owner, Deven Paolo.

Each Wednesday workshop is hosted at a different venue to serve as a continual tour of what McMinnville has to offer. Beyond the historic and beautiful small-town appearance, complete with hip food trucks and live concerts downtown, Mac native and Career Bound Intern Coordinator Anna Pearl Johnson says “the city really advocates to engage and assist the community year-round. It's wonderful. The community element in Mac is what really gives the town it's soul.” By showing off the vast opportunities McMinnville has to offer, interns are encouraged to consider Yamhill County as a viable place to begin a career.

A Summer BOUND For Success

Running the seventh consecutive year of the award-winning WORKS Internship Program is only one of MEDP’s many efforts to sustain McMinnville’s economy and promote the town as a whole. Launched as a pilot program this summer with six inaugural participants, Career Bound is an additional workforce development strategy, coordinated by WORKS intern Anna Pearl Johnson. Using the signature streamlined application technique, high school seniors seeking summer employment apply once to be considered for a variety of local full-time paid positions. Uniquely, Career Bound seeks to provide work within the skilled-trades sector for students who do not plan to attend 4-year colleges directly after high school. In 2012, only 59% of Oregon high school graduates continued on to attend college, yet there is still an increasing labor shortage, prominently in the skilled trades. At McMinnville Water & Light, a top skilled-trades employer, 75% of jobs don’t require a college education. General Manager, John Dietz commented, “McMinnville Water & Light is continually looking at how we can recruit young people with a diverse background from the community we serve. With an estimated 25% of our workforce retiring in the next 4 years, it is critical for us to develop pathways for young people to connect with us.” The equation is simple: to ensure the future of our town’s economic vitality, we need to encourage high school graduates to pursue their vast options for success and to pave their “best-fit” career path.

Career Bound Interns toured local companies, heard from community leaders and professionals, and volunteered during their Pre-Employment Training Conference.Career Bound Interns toured local companies, heard from community leaders and professionals, and volunteered during their Pre-Employment Training Conference.
Career Bound Interns volunteer with Harvest2Home and tour McMinnville Water & Light with General Manager John Dietz during the Pre-Employment Training Conference 

Leveling the TRAINING Field

This year’s Career Bound participants include Iris Armenta and Marckus Smith with Solid Form, Kyle Bertagna with NW Rapid Manufacturing, Hayden Meek-Avedovech and Bevin Schrag with OnlineNW, and Kyle Cool with Fackler Construction. As an initiation to the program, MEDP’s WORKS intern, Anna Pearl Johnson planned and executed a Pre-Employment Training Conference on June 19th and 20th. The conference focused on enhancing students' soft skills, in accordance with employer request, while offering general workplace etiquette training before interns began their jobs. Iris Armenta stated, “I had heard some of the training topics briefly throughout high school, but the conference went into everything on a deeper level, which was great to go through again now that we're all actually going into the real workforce.”

Over the course of two days, Career Bound interns attended seven guest lectures from local business leaders on topics such as growth mentality, the importance of establishing one’s values, goal setting, personal finance, and company representation. These “Life 101” lessons were accompanied by a two-hour long volunteer engagement through the Yamhill Community Action Partnership’s Harvest2Home program and later, company tours of McMinnville Water & Light and a recent Fackler Construction site. Kyle Bertagna said of the experience, “I really liked how companies toured us around their workplace and displayed potential work positions along with requirements, daily position info, and benefits to working at said company. It was really informative.” MEDP’s goal for the Career Bound program is for participants to walk away well rounded and ready to accept the responsibility of adulthood. In placing importance on humanitarian elements such as volunteering and encouraging kindness, the program seeks to instill a desire to contribute positivity back into the world.

Career Bound Interns toured local companies, heard from community leaders and professionals, and volunteered during their Pre-Employment Training Conference.Career Bound Interns toured local companies, heard from community leaders and professionals, and volunteered during their Pre-Employment Training Conference.
Career Bound interns heard from guest speakers and toured a local construction site with Fackler Construction

We can WORK it out

The goal of MEDP’s workforce programs has always been to focus on a triple bottom line. Internships should be valuable to companies, the interns, and the community at large. As interns progress with their careers and lives, we hope the connections they make in McMinnville can be carried forward to impact their futures. As companies host interns for the summer, we hope they can find their next great employees. And as interns traverse the town and learn more about our history, we hope they find a sense of community and engage with what it means to be a McMinnvillian.

Both Career Bound and the WORKS Internship Program will wrap up in mid-August, leaving participants to pursue their next adventure. Regardless of the path chosen, whether it be returning to school or continuing on in the working world, we see big things in their futures.

If you would like to learn more about becoming involved next year as a host site for WORKS or Career Bound interns, please reach out to Shelby@McMinnvilleBusiness.com or Anna@McMinnvilleBusiness.com respectively, or visit the McMinnville WORKS webpage.

 McMinnville WORKS Intern Coordinator Shelby Behr and Career Bound Coordinator Anna Pearl Johnson
McMinnville WORKS Intern Coordinator Shelby Behr and Career Bound Coordinator Anna Pearl Johnson

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MEDP's monthly newsletter, The MEDP Spark, received a Silver Award from the International Economic Development Council in 2017.

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