The Monroe-Brown Internship Program, a collaboration between the Kalamazoo economic development organization Southwest Michigan First and the Kalamazoo-based Monroe-Brown Foundation, Wednesday announced its 2011 internships offered by area companies to currently enrolled college students.

This year’s 39 internship offerings at 28 companies will be the program’s most ambitious to date with more than twice the amount of internships offered in previous years.

“The mission of the Monroe-Brown Foundation is to support higher education in the state of Michigan and advance economic development in the Kalamazoo area,” said Robert M. Brown, president of the Monroe-Brown Foundation. “There has never been a greater need to build employment opportunities here at home. We are overwhelmed by the support shown by our local employers this year.”

Increasing the number of participating companies and variety of positions has been a long-term goal of the program. The legacy of success that the program has built since it started in 2006, supported by the number of interns that have gone on to be hired by participating  companies into full-time positions upon graduation, made this year’s decision to grow the program an easy decision. The program’s simple formula of allowing the employer and intern have a look at each other and see if it’s a fit has found tremendous success.

“The companies of the Kalamazoo Region know that their greatest asset is bright, young talent,” said Southwest Michigan First CEO Ron Kitchens. “Last year’s participating companies were so pleased with the quality of their intern’s talent that many are offering additional spots this year. And the accolades that they have spread by word of mouth and through their networks has encouraged other companies to participate.”

The Monroe-Brown Internship Program provides interns with $5,500 in scholarship funding for college and career experience through an internship paid for and supported by the Southwest Michigan business community.

The program is open to in-coming juniors, seniors and graduate students at Kalamazoo College, Western Michigan University, the Kalamazoo campus of Davenport University, Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and second-year students at Kalamazoo Valley Community College. Students attending Michigan State University and the University of Michigan must have attended high school in the greater Kalamazoo area. 
Once the intern is hired, he or she will work for the company for a minimum of 400 hours between May and September. This is typically full-time for 10 weeks, but can be customized to suit the needs of the individual companies and interns. Throughout the internship, the student will receive hourly wages, valuable networking opportunities and applied career experience.

Upon successful completion of the internship, as decided by the employing company and the Monroe-Brown Foundation, the intern can receive up to $5,500 in the form of a scholarship from the Monroe-Brown Foundation. For tax purposes, all payments from the Monroe-Brown Foundation must be made directly to the school and applied to the student’s account.

Available internships can be found and applied for on the Southwest Michigan First website at

Companies offering Monroe-Brown Foundation Internships this year include American Village Builders Inc., Access Medical, BASIC, Borgess Health, Bronson Healthcare Group,  Consumers Credit Union, CSM Group, Eaton Corp., Fabri-Kal, Harold Zeigler Automotive Group, Humphrey Products Corp., Jasper Clinical Research & Development Inc., Kalamazoo Gazette, Knight Watch Inc., Landscape Forms, Miller-Davis Co., Mol-Son LLC,   Northwestern Mutual Financial Network, Parker Hannifin Fluid System Connectors Division,   Proteos Inc., Schupan & Sons Inc., Skanska USA Building Inc., Southwest Michigan First,    Southwest Michigan Innovation Center, Tekna Inc., Treystar Holdings Inc., Wolverine Pipe Line Co. and Workforce Strategies Inc.

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