All posts tagged internship

First-Hand Experience: Encouraging Students to Explore Local Businesses

How do businesses attract and retain the incoming workforce? It’s a question that is asked across the region, state, and country. With the current situation of more job openings than candidates to fill them, it is critical that we expose today’s students to the jobs that exist.

Many local students are required to spend time in businesses as part of their career exploration. The benefit to local business is that this is a time to make a great impression on a student about your business.

While students become familiar with the skills and knowledge required in various employment opportunities, many businesses benefit from an introduction that may lead to a future employee.

High school and college students are looking for those opportunities right now. In many cases, shadowing a business or interning is a requirement for graduation. Several college students have already sent their resumes to the Chamber for consideration. We are happy to share them with those businesses that are interested in having a college student join their summer workforce.

See some examples below of students gaining experience at local businesses.

Are you looking for an intern or willing to host a job shadow?
Contact the Venango Chamber at or (814) 676-8521.

Halyne Riley, senior at Oil City High School, job shadows at UPMC Northwest. Justine McClaine, student at Clarion University, shows her the X-Ray machine. Halyne has recently committed to also attend Clarion University next year and wants to pursue a career in the medical field.

Students in eAcademy meet with Cindy Elder at Clarion County Community Bank. There are four students in the program this year from Cranberry, Oil City, Rocky Grove, and Titusville High School, and the group takes frequent tours of local businesses.

SaVahna Scott, junior at Cranberry High School and student in the Culinary Arts class at Venango Technology Center (Vo-Tech), job shadowed at Core Goods in Oil City a year ago and is now working part-time at the store through Vo-Tech’s co-op program.

Anna Moore, senior at Cranberry High School, completed her job shadow at Nicole’s Bridal in Seneca and continues to volunteer at the store. Anna plans to pursue business after graduating high school.

This article was published in the Venango Chamber’s March 2020 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.

Connecting Businesses and Interns

Has your business ever employed an intern? Have you considered the possibility? When done right, having an intern join your staff for a few weeks or months benefits both you and the student.

Knowing where to look for an intern is often difficult, but can be just as hard for students to find internships. Connecting with the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce is a great way to get businesses connected with students who are qualified and interested in working for your business.

Nicole Alden is a Human Resources Intern at Specialty Fabrication and Power Coating (SFPC) in Franklin and a sophomore studying Human Resources at Kent State University. Nicole was not sure how to find an internship when she was coming home last summer, but before her spring term ended, she reached out to Susan Williams, President & CEO of the Venango Chamber.

“The Chamber was integral in helping me find an internship that I love.”

– Nicole Alden

The Chamber was ready to pair businesses with interns, to help both our members and students. Many students are required to have an internship in order to graduate.  For others, they are seeking income, experience, or both. In Nicole’s case, she not only fulfilled her college credit requirements, but she now has a position she hopes to continue in upcoming summers.

Among those the Chamber reached out to was the Venango County HR Group. The secretary of the HR group shared the resumes of intern candidates, provided by the Chamber, with members of the group.  The HR & Safety Manager at SFPC received the resumes and then reached out to Nicole.

Nicole was able to work with a company that not only helped her grow professionally, but also valued her ability to do work. “I was not expecting to get as much hands-on work, but I was happy to learn and work 40 hours a week over the summer, getting a meaningful experience in my field,” she said.

In a perfect internship, a business should benefit from the additional help to relieve regular staff or may accomplish special projects that are otherwise difficult to tackle. Students can bring a fresh perspective and often augment skills of other staff.

Nicole’s internship experience is an example of success that has also been realized at other businesses around Venango County. Susan Williams remarks: “The Chamber has employed interns for the last couple of decades and while reaping the benefits of increased staff, has developed great relationships with these young professionals. By providing them with a meaningful work experience, we have influenced many to see our community from a much more positive perspective.

If your business is interested in finding a summer intern or you know a student looking for an internship, contact the Chamber. Susan said: “We’d love to make an introduction between your business and a future employee.”

This article was published in the Venango Chamber’s February 2020 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.

Chamber Interns Reflect on Experiences

Heather Hondel and Jessica Wilson, our interns at the Venango Chamber, were recently back for winter break! Heather has worked for us for two summers and Jessica joined our team last summer.

They are excited to reflect on how their experiences at the Chamber affected their studies and what they have learned over the last semester that now applies to their work at the Chamber. 

Heather Hondel

Working at the Chamber has greatly influenced my college experience. I have utilized marketing skills I gained at the Chamber in my classes, such as when I served as the Chief Marketing Officer in my e-Commerce class and as the Publicity Officer for Grove City College’s Swing Dance Club.

Working with Chamber Staff has given me the ability to work as a team on projects in my classes, as many of my entrepreneurial classes involve heavy amounts of teamwork and planning.

This semester, I took a class entitled Managing a Growing Enterprise. I was placed in a team that fulfilled various roles in a company that we managed for six simulated quarters. It showed me how to be quick on my feet and change strategy in an instant when outcomes were different than initially anticipated. This has helped me generate problem solving skills that I can take into the workplace.

This class also opened my eyes to how connected all the roles in a company are and how to work together to accomplish goals. I now realize the importance of understanding the big picture with the overarching vision of a company, while working to generate a thorough understanding in my own role and how that contributes to the vision.

Throughout the course, my management team presented weekly executive briefings containing strategy updates. This class will be incredibly influential on how I work as an intern at the Chamber and in life in general.

Heather is a junior at Grove City College studying Entrepreneurship.

Jessica Wilson

After a few weeks working at the Chamber this summer, I knew this experience was going to change the way I work and what I want my life to look like. During my time at the Chamber, my view of small and local businesses drastically shifted.

Previously, I did not think about local business or how and why they are important, but after my experiences, I realize what a vital part these businesses are for a community. This has greatly impacted my life at school; I now see the local community as a place I want to be.

I am also more intentional about supporting and work in the community. This appreciation for local business has informed several projects and the courses I am taking at school. 

One of the classes I took last semester focused on the task patterns and best practices in designs, and it enabled me to think more critically about how and why things are set up the way they are. It also empowered me to think objectively rather than subjectively about important business decisions.

As I come back to work at the Chamber over break, thinking about best practices and objective critique are at the forefront of my mind. I see these ideals shaping the way I work on personal and group projects. Understanding the why behind design and content choices is an integral part of good work and I am so pleased to be able to practice what I have learned in class at the Chamber.

Jessica is studying Communication with concentrations in PR and Integrated Media at Geneva College and plans to graduate in the spring.  

This article was published in the Venango Chamber’s January 2020 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.

Work-Study Pays – Benefits Local Businesses

2017 Student Lunch9Many businesses or organizations would love to have the help of an additional employee, especially during the summer months when staff members are busier than ever or taking vacations. Non-profit organizations often take advantage of the good weather to schedule special events and every extra hand is helpful. Interns can offer a great opportunity to boost your staff, not only with the extra person but also with fresh ideas and perspectives.

Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance (PHEAA) offers assistance to college students through their work study grants and this is a win for both employers and students who qualify for the program. One of the incentives to hire work-study students is the hourly-wage subsidy the Work-Study Program provides. Under this program, a student’s wages are partially subsidized, so employers pay between a net 50 and 60 percent of eligible wages and the program subsidizes the remainder. For the students, the State Work-Study Program provides them with career-related work experience and allows students to earn funds to assist in meeting the costs of their postsecondary education.

Perhaps the greatest incentive to local businesses and organizations hiring work-study students is the continued engagement of our up-and-coming workforce, with a realistic chance that you will be meeting a student that will be better qualified to work with you following graduation.

The Venango Chamber has a long history of employing work-study students, many of whom have remained in or returned to Venango County.  Our interns have repeatedly shared that working with us has exposed them to a new view of our county, our assets, and the number of diverse employment opportunities. 2017 Student Lunch3

We expect to have a new intern joining the Chamber team and hope you might consider adding a college intern to your team, too.  When you do, please tell us so we can welcome them.

For more information about becoming a work-study employer, visit

(Photos included were taken at the Student Appreciate Luncheon, hosted each August by the FLEX Young Professionals)

This article was published in the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce’s May 2018 edition of the VenangoWorks! Newsletter.