What is a Community Intern or Apprentice?
March 3, 2014

If you follow us on social media, you’ll notice that we often highlight our Interns and Apprentices. Ogallala Commons’ Community Internship and Apprenticeship Program is the primary way that we are able to help communities capitalize on the assets of their commonwealth, and we’re always eager to share about it.

OC Community Interns work in an array of career fields and diverse projects, from establishing community gardens to working in rural hospital settings, to publishing a history book for a small town, to designing educational programs for community health and wellness, to writing grant proposals and do water sample studies for a Groundwater Conservation District.

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Iris Ocon and Yesenia Canero stand with their business teacher Rachel Gonzales (center), at their high school in Dimmitt, Texas.  Both young ladies competed in OC’s Youth Entrepreneur Fair in November, and have applied for a Community Internship, hoping to help teach financial literacy to Spanish-speaking adults in their town

What is Distinct about a Community Internship or Apprenticeship?

First of all, they contribute something significant to a town, neighborhood, or institution. The centerpiece of our program is that interns and apprentices are gaining work experience through projects that respond to community needs or build up assets. In this way, youth and adults are inspired to reconnect with communities, to give something back, and to explore careers that could lead a person “homeward” to live, work, play, and raise their families.

Equally important, our interns, apprentices, and supervisors work as part of a larger cohort: dozens of youth and adults getting to know and interact with each other over a summer or semester–collaborating on projects, sharing friendship, and becoming a group of peers who network to build future possibilities.

Thirdly, interns and apprentices in our program learn about commonwealth: a set of assets that every community already has. OC views commonwealth as the basis for building new careers and enterprises. Since 2007, more than 200 OC Community Internships have enhanced key assets in places that welcome new energy and vision.

Our internships range from 200 to 240 hours over 8-10 weeks, but can be as long as 6 months (apprenticeships are 500-600 hours spread over 6-9 months). Interns and apprentices receive an hourly stipend for their internship: high school students receive $8 per hour, those in college earn $9 per hour, and graduate or adult interns are compensated at $10 per hour. OC offers Community Apprenticeships in situations where the candidate and the partner are ready and willing to create a pathway to a full-time job position.

What are the Requirements?

Achieving measurable outcomes on the job is important, and so are the things you learn and take with you. In addition to intern and apprentice work hours, OC requires 8 products that deepen and document the experience: Attend the Intern Orientation near Dumas, Texas (June 3-5, 2014), Publish 5 Internet Blogs with At Least 10 Photos, Execute a Work Plan, Conduct an “Commonwealth Mapping” Exercise, Complete 10 Hours of Community Service, Conduct a Harvesting Ceremony, Complete an Evaluation, and Submit a Portfolio.

How Do I Apply? 

To apply for an internship or apprenticeship, visit us online at http://ogallalacommons.org/get-involved/apply-for-an-internship/.

Have you participated in an internship? What did you gain from your time as an intern or apprentice?