Family gives hundreds of Minnesotans job experience
By: Sarah Alabsi, Pohlad intern, Lake County News Chronicle
Carl Pohlad started life as a poor boy in Iowa in the early 1900s. At the end of his life, he was a wealthy businessman with billions of dollars — and the Minnesota Twins — to his name.
Along with a legacy of hard work and personal growth, Pohlad left the Pohlad Family Foundation. A mission of Carl and his wife, Eloise, the foundation aims to support a variety of community services through grants. It also helps fund a variety of internships.
The Pohlad Student Internship Program provides students with the opportunity to learn about and experience jobs in three major industries.
“It helped me develop a strong work ethic,” said Sean Thayer, 21, who has been working 50 hours a week as an accounting intern with Corval Group in St. Paul. “I have learned that communication is key to success.”
The program started in 2005 with an internship program in banking. Now in its ninth year, it has grown to include journalism. Interns can have a variety of office and production tasks including writing, accounting, sales, proofing, printing production and maintenance.
“It can be life-changing for people involved,” said Sarah Bauer, program director at the Minnesota Newspaper Association, which administers the journalism program.
The MNA facilitates the internship by communicating with weekly newspapers acros the state that hire the interns. Community newspapers that are interested in hiring interns for the summer apply to MNA and, on a first-come, first-served basis, are eligible to receive up to two summer interns.
The same process works with other nonprofit groups that act as facilitators for the printing and banking internships. Training, Educating, And Mentoring (T.E.A.M.) Future Bankers is the banking internship, run through the Independent Community Bankers of America.
The Pohlad Family Foundation reimburses the community employer up to $1,200, a recommended 75 percent of the first-time intern’s salary. The hiring process is completely in the hands of the employers, although students applying for the journalism and banking internships must be ages 16-19. Printing interns may be age 16-21.
“One of the coolest things is that this is a high school experience vs. a college experience,” Bauer said. “It’s obvious that you’d try to get an internship in something you’re interested in during college. Having this opportunity in high school is cool.”
“In retrospect, it’s actually something I would’ve regretted not taking because I feel like it’s offered me a chance to improve myself,” said Chaviely Dellinger, 18, a recent high school graduate from Two Harbors and intern at the Lake County News-Chronicle who says she’s learned more than just writing skills on her summer job.
“Journalism requires you to be somewhat irritating. Pestering is, unfortunately, part of the job,” Dellinger said.
Money for the internship is supplied by the Pohlad Family Foundation and the family’s various business holdings, said Tracy Egge, senior program officer at the PFF.
“We make grants directly to the nonprofit organizations which administer all the funds to the employers and interns,” Egge said.
At the end of this year, there will have been more than 650 interns who have completed the program, Bauer said.
“I’m so impressed by the high-level work these students do,” she said. “We’ve seen a lot of former interns go into their fields of choice and it’s a great feeling.”