The St. James Internship Committee has announced an intern program is available for businesses interested in creating a position for high school students who would like experience and education in a specific business atmosphere.
Dawn Abel and the Watonwan Farm Service (WFS) have taken advantage of the St. James internship program in the past and are looking forward to helping a St. James High School student gain experience in the world of agriculture.
The 2013 Student Internship Program is made available due to funds contributed through grants from the St. James Area Foundation and Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF).
Abel and WFS had previously received a St. James intern through a St. James internship program in 2009. Their intern was Hailey Elness of St. James.
“She did a good job working with us through the summer, she was reliable and wanted to learn so we tried to give her as many experience and just explain how the business process worked and our operations and stuff like that,” said Abel.
WFS wanted to offer an internship that not only educated the intern on how the agriculture business was conducted, but give them valuable experience that they could take with them wherever they went.
Interns looking to find a position through the St. James internship program apply for positions and are interviewed – giving them the full work experience. Classes are offered regarding creating a resume and interviewing techniques.
For Elness, the internship meant a job after graduating from college. Elness finished her internship and attended South Central college for business and agriculture. She returned to WFS for another internship before graduating and taking a position in the feed mill office at WFS, taking feed orders for Truman and St. James customers.
“It's a good deal for us, we knew what we were getting – we knew we were going to get a good employee and she knew how everything worked here, so we saved money advertising and searching for someone,” said Abel. “You save money in training because she was already so familiar with what was going on, so it was kind of a win-win.”
WFS generally accepts eight to ten interns a year ranging from college-level interns to high school students, though Abel admits high school interns are less desirable than college-aged interns simply because they cannot operate all of the machinery that the older students can due to their age.
“The value of doing this at the high school level is just getting to them a little earlier,” said Abel. “Anytime we can get those students connected with businesses is just a great thing.”
Several students have moved on from college to gain employment at WFS after earning an internship with the company. WFS has done internships with agronomy for many years, but has begun to move toward feed internships and accounting to build younger student’s experience and understanding of agriculture.
Page 2 of 2 - The internship offers an opportunity for students to work in rural communities and see that there are jobs in the area. The St. James Internship Committee has grant funds available for paid internships.