Funding awards help small businesses hire summer 2017 interns

Contact: Jeanne Baron
Chris Van Horn and Mike McMillen.

Chris Van Horn and Mike McMillen, TraumaSoft

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—For the sixth consecutive year, small businesses in West Michigan can apply for funding to help them hire Western Michigan University student interns in the science, technology, engineering and math—STEM—disciplines.

Funding applications for this summer are due Wednesday, March 1.

"The Small Company Internship Award Program provides matching funds to help businesses with 500 or fewer employees hire WMU students to work on STEM or STEM-related projects that are both beneficial to the company and academically relevant to students," says Lisa Garcia, director of WMU's Business Connection.

"The matching money is again being provided by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation through the Michigan Corporate Relations Network, which connects industry to critical university talent in ways that will help the state's economy grow and prosper."

About the internship program

The Small Company Internship Award Program provides up to $3,500 in matching funds for a company to hire an intern for summer 2017. Companies may apply for funding for up to two interns from either one or two MCRN schools. However, the maximum award for a company is $3,500 from each school providing an intern.

Garcia says WMU has $35,000 to disperse this year, enough to support about 12 to 14 internships at the recommended rate of at least $12 per hour. She adds that there are few restrictions on who can apply, but the MCRN funding is targeted toward companies in Allegan, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph and Van Buren counties that would like to hire a WMU intern.

Prioritized preference is given to small companies that focus on innovative work in STEM fields, provide an internship where STEM skills are employed and have yet to receive an internship award.

To apply for funding, download the 2017 application at and email the completed form by March 1 to Lisa Garcia at

For more information about the Small Company Internship Award Program, contact Garcia at or (269) 387-6004.

About MCRN

Michigan Corporate Relations Network.The Michigan Corporate Relations Network is a statewide university network. In addition to WMU, membership is comprised of Michigan State University, Michigan Technological University, Wayne State University and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and Dearborn.

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