EKU Regional Liaison for Improving Networks and Connections (LINC) matches students with local employers within the University's 22-county service region
EKU Regional LINC filters through EKU’s Office of Regional Stewardship to support the work and address the business and non-profit needs within the EKU Service Region while providing valuable field experience and student employment.
EKU student interns may work at the employer's location or work remotely from the Richmond, Manchester, or Corbin campuses with faculty or staff supervision. Faculty or staff supervisors meet with employers before the internships begin to outline tasks. This ensures quality work and timely completion. Employers can act as direct supervisors for thier intern, working alongside them at their own site, or give the LINC staff a task list and timeline, with the confidence the student will be supervised and the tasks will be complete.
"Employers often don't have time to supervise an intern. No time for supervision can be a detterent to getting the help they need," said Melissa Newman, Director of Regional Stewardship. "The LINC program can take on the responsibility of that day-to-day supervisory role."
EKU provides support services by supervising the intern, if requested, but the LINC program also sends student interns equipped with thier own laptop with software loaded and paid mileage for the intern who may be traveling for meetings. LINC interns are paid through the University, taking the added burden of payroll off the "to do" list of intern employers.
Potential employers will pay $4,500 for a summer intern at 29 hours a week and a faculty or staff support person or $4,000 for fall or spring intern at 20 hours a week and faculty or staff support person.
"It really is a win for the student and the employer," Newman said. "Shouldering the responsibility of new hires and supervision while turning the internship into a working and learning experience, helps the student and thier employer."
EKU Regional LINC allowed Angela Zomaya, a senior EKU public relations students and Harlan County native, to assist the Harlan County Court House Economic Development Board with new business start-up needs while gaining the college credit she needs toward her bachelor’s degree in public relations. She designed a logo, enhanced existing website and social media platforms, and created an online StateBook account to market Harlan County’s economic development opportunities to outside industries.
“This program is really cool and I’m grateful for the opportunity,” said Zomaya. “The coolest part is that it helps everyone involved, it benefits the service region, and it opens doors and is great for networking. EKU reaches out to rural areas and you can apply the tools you’ve learned through your experiences to real world situations. So all around, it’s a good thing.”
Zomaya will rejoin the EKU Regional LINC program this fall as an intern working with Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) and East Kentucky Leadership Foundation (EKLF).
Erin Blanton, an EKU public relations graduate and former EKU Regional Stewardship, Public Relations and Non-Profit Support AmeriCorps VISTA, completed three semesters of paid internship work through the EKU Office of Regional Stewardship working with SOAR and EKLF.
“Without the opportunity to network and grow through my internship in college, I truly believe I would not have found passion in my career,” Blanton said. “It really is about putting yourself out there and meeting the region’s key players. Things seems to fall into place that way.”
Blanton said students are selected for EKU Regional LINC internships based on their knowledge and ability to do the work in any given career field, so potential employees can be confident that they will receive a well-prepared student intern.
“These types of work-based, hands-on internships are ideal for students to grow their work experience while offering much needed support for local organizations in our region,” Blanton said. “I don’t see how everyone doesn’t win with this program.”
Blanton is now employed full-time with the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program (EKCEP), a non-profit organization matching jobseekers to employment in 23 eastern Kentucky counties.