January 19

UMF increases, standardizes student interning

The number of student interns in UMF’s Partnership for Civic Advancement has grown since its launch in 2012 from 18 interns working at 12 community partner organizations to 66 interns and 48 partners organizations.

By Kaitlin Schroeder kschroeder@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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NOW HEAR THIS: University of Maine in Farmington student Hayley Smith-Rose now works at Mountain Wireless radio station True Oldies in Waterville, where she is an executive sales coordinator.

Staff photo by David Leaming

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PARTNERS: Celeste Branham, right, vice president of Student and Community Services at the University of Maine in Farmington, and grant writer Lorraine Pratt discuss the Partnership for Civic Advancement program, which assists students with internship opportunities.

Staff photo by David Leaming

Program director studies apprenticeships with Fulbright Scholarship

Not all countries’ economic systems rely on internships, said Celeste Branham, director of UMF’s Partnership for Civic Advancement.

Internships through the program have increased from 18 students to 66 students over the past two years.

Branham, UMF’s vice president of student and community affairs, studied the German apprenticeship system on a Fulbright Scholarship this fall.

She said about two-thirds of their workers have had apprenticeships, which they participate in for four to six years.

“When they leave, they have had the actual practical experience in the field,”she said. “It ensures a trained workforce and secures their economy.”

Branham said in Germany there are different tracks that students are placed on for secondary education for heading to universities, arts universities and technical schools.

For the different tracks, a majority of students are placed in apprenticeships that they work at for four or six years before eventually getting a job in the field, often by the company that trained them.

The system is being credited as a factor keeping the country’s unemployment rate lower than its financially troubled neighbors, she said.

She said in the future she is interested in the partnership possibly working with school districts on apprenticeship programs.

Branham said German companies in the U.S. are interested in American apprentices, and she could see more businesses drawn to the apprenticeship program to ensure a skilled workforce.

“But they would need to have tax incentives,” she said.

“There’s a lot of opportunity to tap into these students’ ideas and enthusiasm,” she said.

Teele said the nonprofit takes both student volunteers and interns paid with the partnerships’ $1,200 stipends.

Teele, 54, said she interned as a nontraditional student with United Way five years ago, and the partnership created more consistency than there was for interns in her graduating class.

“There’s a system of reporting, an expectation of quality and a contract with a description of what both sides are expected to do,” she said.

When students volunteer with community groups such as United Way, Branham said, she hopes students come away with more knowledge about a municipality’s needs.

“It gives them a sense of civic responsibility and an understanding of how a community functions,” she said.

UMF senior Hayley Smith-Rose interned at True Oldies 93.5, in Waterville, last summer and has accepted a job in marketing with the Mountain Wireless, the station’s parent company and one of UMF’s partner organizations.

Smith-Rose, of Nashua, N.H., said she was unsure what she specifically wanted to do with her music administration major, and the internship let her test a career in the radio business.

“When you learn, it’s very real-world,” she said.

Smith-Rose, 22, said she interned before at a Boston radio station near her hometown that wasn’t a partner organization with the school.

“The first internship was great and nothing went wrong, thankfully; but with the partnership, you know there’s that accountability,” she said. “It feels safer.”

Smith-Rose continued to work part time as an executive sales coordinator for the station after the internship ended and now has a job offer in sales with Mountain Wireless after graduation.

“It’s nice to be one of the lucky few that have a job,” she said.

Branham said one of the achievements of the program is that it helps students such as Smith-Rose learn that there are jobs in Maine.

“Prior to their participation in the partnership, many students didn’t realize there were options for them in Maine,” she said. “And promoting that is on everybody’s mind.”

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252kschroeder@centralmaine.com
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