A new state program aims to line up unpaid internships for unemployed Iowans, with the goal of having that internship turn into a full-time job.
Teresa Wahlert is director of Iowa Workforce Development, the state agency that’s managing the program.
“We take people who are still collecting their unemployment benefits and match them to jobs that are open,” Wahlert says, “where a company has several jobs, can’t seem to get the jobs filled.”
The interns will work for 24 hours a week and must spend another 16 hours per week getting a special certification that shows they’re skilled at applied mathematics, reading comprehension and searching for information. Just one intern has completed the program so far, working at a lumber supply company that could not find applicants to fill a job opening.
“Instead of having an eight-week internship, this person only had a two-week internship which is just fine,” Wahlert says. “The company offered him a full-time job and the rest of the story is that intern only had seven weeks left on his unemployment benefits…and it just so happens that the intern happened to be a very, so it’s really a great story.”
State officials launched the program statewide in late November, with 15 unemployed Iowans beginning eight-week-long internships that will conclude in January — hopefully with a full-time job offer.