This month's Gold Star Partner is the Lemoore Chamber of Commerce
The Lemoore Chamber of Commerce and West Hills College Lemoore have a long history of working together to benefit the community of Lemoore. WHCL has worked with the chamber to help promote the community, benefit students and more.
However, one interesting aspect of this partnership has had a particularly important impact: the Lemoore Chamber of Commerce's hosting of a West Hills College Lemoore student for an internship.
Monica Vargas, a WHCL student, was connected with the Chamber through the WHCL WIN (Workforce, Internship, Networking) Center. Lemoore Chamber of Commerce CEO Amy Ward said the process for finding an intern was easy and personalized.
"West Hills asked me what skill sets I was looking for and they matched me with a student who had relevant experience," she said. "They took the time to get an actual task list. When I interviewed students, I didn’t feel like it was a waste of my time."
Amy hired on Monica and put to her to work. However, it wasn't work you might associate with your stereotypical intern: running for coffee and filing. Instead, Amy saw it as an opportunity to expose a young person to the workforce and help guide her.
"There’s a lot of misconceptions when it comes to interns," she said. "A lot of our businesses freak out over interns because they don’t have time to train them, but the reason you need an intern is because you don't have the time. I saw the internship as an opportunity to help Monica engage in what the workforce looks like. I didn’t want her to just do filing. I wanted to give her an idea of what working is actually like so I began bringing her to meetings with me. She got to see community engagement. Then, I started letting her go talk to businesses. In addition to office experience she also got an incredible wealth of engagement experience."
This preparation benefited both Monica and the Chamber. Even though the internship is over, Monica is still a Chamber volunteer and, in large part thanks to the connections she made at the Chamber, she is now working with United Way of Kings County.
The Lemoore Chamber of Commerce was happy with the outcome and are now working with WHCL to place two more interns.