Rural Internship Initiative seeks rural entities to host interns

Rural Internship Initiative seeks rural entities to host interns

November 17, 2022

The Golden LEAF Rural Internship Initiative is seeking rural entities to host Golden LEAF Scholarship recipients with meaningful internship experiences. The Rural Internship Initiative offers internships paid for by the Golden LEAF Foundation.

Golden LEAF Scholars are responsible for identifying a site to complete their internship. To support this process, Golden LEAF is gathering information from entities interested in participating in this initiative. 

So far, seven cooperative extensions, two farms, a farm-to-table food hub, and a farmers’ market have expressed interest in hosting Rural Internship Initiative interns in agriculture-related majors.

Interested entities may complete this form to communicate their interest in hosting a Golden LEAF Scholar participating in the Rural Internship Initiative. The list of interested entities will be shared with Scholars beginning in fall 2022, as a resource to locate internship sites. Students will be responsible for reaching out to sites from this list. Completing the form does not guarantee that a site will receive an intern.

The Rural Internship Initiative provides eligible Golden LEAF Scholars with professional work experience related to their career field in a rural North Carolina community. The Golden LEAF Foundation provides funding to pay interns $15/hour for up to 400 hours of work. Internships take place over 8-10 weeks, between June and August.

Internship sites that host a Golden LEAF Scholar Intern provide them with a meaningful project or role that aligns with the student’s college major and future career goals. Interns also receive additional leadership training and support from the NC Rural Center throughout the summer.

Mariah Hughes is a Water Resources Program Manager for Mountain Valleys Resource Conservation and Development Council. She was excited to host a Scholar in Madison County. Hughes said an internship is a great tool for students to be more prepared for the workforce.

“Employers are more interested in candidates that have real work experience in addition to their education,” said Hughes. “If you start your career knowing what minutes are and how a board meeting is run, for example, you will have a leg up. It’s also a great way for students to explore their interests and see if a particular career path is a good fit. The reality of the day to day is a very important understanding to have when choosing a career.”

Hughes shared the difference in what makes a good intern and a great intern.

“A good intern gets the job done and is pleasant to work with,” said Hughes. “A great intern exceeds your expectations, is always professional with a positive attitude, and genuinely interested in the work and the learning experience.”

Internship sites include, but are not limited to, businesses, nonprofits, governmental entities, or companies. Supervisors also commit to reporting on intern performance via bi-weekly surveys as well as mentoring the student on the role, professionalism, and rural community leadership. All participating internship sites will enter a three-party agreement with the Golden LEAF Foundation and a temporary employment agency, which will be the intern’s employer of record and will manage payroll and similar services. 

Golden LEAF is looking for interested entities for the summer 2023 cohort of Rural Internship Initiative interns. If your rural entity has interest in hosting an intern, fill out the Golden LEAF Rural Internship Initiative: Internship Site Interest Form found at the bottom of the page. Internship selections will be announced in mid-April 2023.

If you have any questions, please contact Arlena Ratliff, Golden LEAF Scholarship Program Manager at [email protected].

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