Internship Program Benefits Students and Small Businesses

A new virtual internship program in the Inland Empire/Desert Region will give students marketing and social media skills that are essential in today’s workforce, while giving the region’s businesses access to marketing talent to help them weather continued financial uncertainty.

Spearheaded by Retail/Hospitality/Tourism Statewide Director Joy Hermsen and Inland Empire Business & Entrepreneurship Regional Director Lisa Kiplinger-Kennedy, the Virtual Marketing Internship program is the first of its kind in the region. Copper Mountain College will conduct a pilot program with 10 students this summer starting on June 14, and the program will expand to 30 students at other colleges in the region this fall.

Interns are assigned to community-based businesses in the retail and hospitality sectors based on need for social media outreach and engagement. They take a course in digital media that prepares them to hit the ground running and help local businesses meet their goals. Business owners also receive training in social and digital media engagement that they can utilize after the intern’s time with them is complete.

“Small businesses in the Inland Empire Desert Region are in extreme need of support to be visible to their customers in the digital space,” Kiplinger-Kennedy said. “This internship addresses that urgent need while giving students invaluable work-based learning experience.”

The Virtual Marketing Internship is being built in a way that can scale to other regions and eventually statewide. All course materials are available in Canvas and will be updated annually so they are aligned with the latest industry trends.

“With this successful blend of targeted support for the small business owners and student professional skills and work-based learning, phase 2 of the program will expand to include two more colleges in the region, informing a future statewide expansion,” Kiplinger-Kennedy said.