ST. CLOUD -- An internship offered through local businesses for high school students is ending for the season but the skills interns have learned won't be lost as the leaves change.

The St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce's Unite for Success internship program kicked off in late May. The chamber partnered with 13 local businesses, all of which are chamber members, to create the internship this year.

Kelti Lorence is the Communications and Workforce Development Coordinator for the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce. She says to make the program possible she works with business owners as well as local high school counselors.

"I go out and I recruit businesses who are willing to mentor and host a student for the summer. Then I reach out to the schools next, to let all of the principals and guidance counselors know. We have an online application that we have the students fill out. They all go through an interview vetting process and then we are able to place them with the businesses."

Interns have from the end of May through most of August to complete 80 hours at the business that was chosen for them based on their interests. The internship is also paid.

Cecilia Maus-Conn has been interning at the YMCA Kids Zone. She says the experience helped her learn how to connect with kids.

"Mostly my job is to just play with the kids and make sure they are safe. It's been a lot of fun. In addition, I've learned a lot of kids skills myself because I didn't have a lot of experience with kids. I think it's helped me grow as a person, in confidence and just being sure of myself."

Maus-Conn will be starting 11th grade this fall. She says she's definitely interested in doing another internship next summer through the chamber's program.

Next summer's internship applications will be available in April 2019. If you're a business owner looking to get involved you can reach out to Lorence, just follow the link below.

The St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce Report is a bi-weekly feature on WJON's Rush Hour program, weeknights from 5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

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