Funding awards help small businesses hire summer interns

contact: Jeanne Baron
| WMU News

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—For the fifth consecutive year, small businesses in West Michigan can apply for funding to help them hire Western Michigan University student interns in the science, technology, engineering and math—STEM—disciplines.

"The Small Company Internship Award Program provides matching funds to help businesses with 500 or fewer employees hire WMU students to work on STEM or STEM-related projects that are both beneficial to the company and academically relevant to students," says Lisa Garcia, director of WMU's Business Connection.

"The matching money is being provided through the Michigan Corporate Relations Network, which receives financial support from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. The network is made up of WMU and five other public Michigan schools that are working to connect industry to critical university talent in ways that will help the state's economy grow and prosper."

About the program

Garcia says the Small Company Internship Award Program will provide up to $3,500 in matching funds for a company to hire an intern for summer 2016. Funding applications for this summer are due Friday, March 11.

Companies may apply for funding for up to two interns from either one or two schools in the Michigan Corporate Relations Network. However, the maximum award for a company is $3,500 from each school providing an intern.

WMU has $35,000 to disperse this year, Garcia says, enough to support about 12 to 14 internships at the recommended rate of at least $12 per hour. She adds that there are few restrictions on who can apply, but the program is targeted towards companies in Allegan, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph and Van Buren counties that would like to hire a WMU intern.

Prioritized preference will be given to small companies that focus on innovative work in the STEM fields, provide an internship where STEM skills are employed and have yet to receive an award through the program.

To apply for funding, download the 2016 application at and email the completed form by March 11 to Lisa Garcia at

For more information about the Small Company Internship Award Program, contact Garcia at or (269) 387-6004.

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