Lincoln University's Community Internship Program has gone so well the university is looking to double its scope.
The Community Internship Program connects Lincoln University students with local businesses associated with the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce.
Last fall, 17 LU students interned with 10 local businesses, ranging from Capital Regional Medical Center to The Missouri Bar.
This spring, Beth Jordan, LU career services director, said the university's goal is to set 40-50 students up with internships at 30-40 local businesses.
Feedback from businesses that participated in the internship program last fall has been overwhelmingly positive, said Gary Plummer, CEO and president of the chamber.
Plummer said workforce challenges are the top issue facing local businesses right now and the partnership with LU is an avenue to start addressing it.
"This internship program is another opportunity for employers to develop a relationship with young talent that can develop into something that lasts longer than just a semester or two," Plummer said in a news release.
Previous interns came from a variety of academic fields, including computer information systems, accounting, business administration and wellness, among others.
Tommesha Wiggins, a junior computer information systems student from Jefferson City, interned at The Missouri Bar where she developed an application, handled phishing emails, installed computer programs and created a database.
Through the internship, Wiggins said she strengthened her problem-solving skills and confidence.
"My biggest fear when starting my internship was that I was going to have to work with people who didn't care," she said. "My experience was the opposite. Everyone made me feel welcome."
Javan Gray, a senior business administration student from Jamaica, interned at Modern Litho, a commercial print and publishing company.
Gray worked with the company's marketing director to prepare print files, upload and proof files, make corrections and track approvals.
"I know how frustrating it can be when you go to get a job without any experience," he said. "Having an internship gives you that experience. You have nothing to lose and a lot to gain."
Central Bancompany, Legends Bank, Scholastic, SSM Health, Unilever, Williams-Keepers, and the chamber itself also accepted interns through the program last fall.