In April 2007, 300 leaders from around West Michigan came together to help determine the most important issues facing our region. Educational Attainment (increasing the percentage of people in the region ages 25 to 34 with a four-year college degree) was identified as a top priority for the region.
WMSA’s Regional Issues Committee examined best practices from around the country and gathered available information as to the statistical effectiveness of several internship programs. Committee members agreed the expansion of internships provided one of the best methods for retaining and expanding our intellectual capital base. A survey was made of career placement offices in West Michigan. The common thread of the survey is that there is a definite need to increase the number of available internship opportunities above and beyond the 5,000 to 6,000 identified by career placement professionals.
Across the state, others were coming to the same conclusion. The internship website portal was also identified by the Southeast Michigan and Mid-Michigan WIRED projects as an effective talent retention and expansion strategy. A statewide group has been participating in the development of the internship website portal concept.