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It is hard to believe the summer is coming to an end already.

My favorite part about it was our Hancock County Economic Development Intern Program. This is our fourth year annual program and we have met some awesome young individuals and made lifetime connections.

In 2019, we had 19 interns enroll in the program, designed to help interns who are working at businesses within Hancock County make connections, get to know the area and realize the value of our communities.

We held seven events over the course of the summer.

Our first event kicked off in June with a speaker who presented a practical, interactive session on what interns could do to make an excellent impression as a professional throughout their intern experience. We then had a regional event with our economic development partners from seven surrounding counties. The interns were able to listen and ask questions of a local panel of young professionals, network with each other and make new friends to hang around with for the summer as they explored the region.

Finances is always a session the kids enjoy. We had a team from Clear Lake Bank and Trust go through real life scenarios on financial issues pertinent from the time you enter college to taking your first job. The Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media session was also a hit. I think we learned from each other about platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

We had interns who volunteered their time at the HCEDC booth at the Hancock County District Fair and attended several events at the fairgrounds. We ended our program with a dining etiquette and “Why Volunteering within your Community is Important” program.

We have had success keeping interns in the area and bringing them back after graduation with this program. This summer, one of the 19 interns took a full time job with one of our local companies and moved himself and his fiancé to the area. I would like to think this was primarily a result of participating in our program, but I know the company he interned with along with Hancock County’s lucrative fishing spots were the major factors in his decision.

The Hancock County Intern program plays a key role in HCEDC’s workforce attraction goal. We need to attract young talent and have them get to know our outstanding communities so they will want to call one of them “home.”

We are looking forward to next year with great anticipation.

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