Future Today Internship Program Helps Recent College Graduates Affected by COVID-19 Job Loss

October 26  

Two St. Paul organizations have teamed up to create a new internship program for recent college graduates whose career opportunities have been limited as a result of COVID-19. The St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce (SPACC) and University Enterprise Laboratories (UEL) are currently recruiting college graduates for the first Future Today Internship Program

Many graduates have either had their job offers rescinded or are having a difficult time finding employment due to job shrinkage. This exciting program will match recent graduates with businesses and non-profit organizations based on the graduate’s area of interest/major and the employer’s needs. 

Organizers expect up to 35 recent graduates to participate in the program’s first cohort, which will begin October 26 and conclude in December. Interns will be able to work between 20 to 40 hours per week and will be paid $22 per hour. The Future Today program is free to both employers and the graduates through funding by Ramsey County Workforce Solutions via CARES funding. 

All graduates of two- and four-year institutions in Ramsey County are encouraged to apply, but organizers will give priority to BIPOC students, whose opportunities have been especially limited by the pandemic. 

“When you don’t have a job, your confidence suffers,” said Program Director Linda Sloan. “What they’ve accomplished as college students takes tenacity, resilience and dedication. We want our graduates to feel proud of who they are and what they have accomplished. We don’t want them to feel as if they haven’t succeeded.” 

Both Sloan and her fellow Co-Program Director LaBarre Spence have served as career coaches for students at St. Thomas. They will be utilizing their experience to provide training for students in the program. 

“This will include things like professional development workshops on leadership and hands-on learning experiences discussing success on the job, clear communications and more,” Spence said. “It will help students get a sense of how to package their experience and tell their story as they move onto the next step in their careers.” 

Funding for the Future Today Internship Program comes from Ramsey County Workforce Solutions along with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Passed by Congress earlier this year, the CARES Act provides fast and direct economic assistance for American families, workers and small businesses.

Through the internship program, students will be able to assist with a variety of projects including data analysis, marketing, fundraising, scientific lab work and more. More than 20 companies have already signed up to receive interns, including NovoClade, gener8tor and UEL.

“The Future Today Internship Program is an incredible opportunity, both for recent graduates and for growing companies who need the skills that these graduates bring,” said UEL Executive Director Diane Rucker. “We are proud to partner with SPACC on this program, and to help these interns gain the professional experience that they need to grow.”

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