UNM-LA CIC orientation
Laura Loy and Ted Lopez guide students through the application process during one of the required orientation sessions for the Community Internship Collaboration program.
Credit: UNM-LA

There is a new partnership in Los Alamos, and its mission is to provide opportunities for local high school and college students as well as small businesses. The Community Internship Collaboration (CIC) is a joint partnership of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Security, LLC, UNM-Los Alamos, Los Alamos High School, and the Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

The partnership was formed this fall with the dual objective of giving students real-world learning opportunities while providing businesses with interns who bring fresh perspectives and specific skillsets to the business.

The new workforce development program allows UNM-LA undergraduates and Los Alamos High School juniors and seniors to gain work experience with small businesses in Los Alamos. Unlike some other internship programs at the two schools, the work is not limited to the science, technology, engineering and math fields. Students are able to put knowledge and skills learned in the classroom to use in a practical way in a variety of industries and settings, while businesses gain an intern eager to contribute to the success of their business at no cost to them.

“Integral to the program is that students work on a skills-based project or projects for the businesses,” said CIC Coordinator Laura Loy. “This ensures that the students are properly paired with businesses based on the skills they bring to the table, and they spend their time on something that provides a learning experience.”

“Another key component of the program is mutual selection,” added Loy. “Not only are the local businesses able to interview interns that they feel are a good fit for them, but the students apply directly to certain internships, giving them the chance to focus on only those opportunities that interest them.”

The first CIC session is currently underway as a pilot program, and interns have been matched up with four local businesses: The Finishing Touch, Journey Pacific, Peggy Pendergast Catering, and CB Fox. Ted Lopez at the SBDC, based at UNM-LA, has been an integral partner from the beginning by reaching out to local businesses.

The program is made possible through a grant from Los Alamos National Security, LLC, which funds the students’ salaries for up to 60 hours throughout the 15-week session. The grant also funds other operational costs including an educational component, through which students attend a series of classes at UNM-LA for academic credit. Students report weekly to advisors at their respective campuses (UNM-LA or LAHS).

Carole Rutten, Deputy Director, LANL Community Programs Office said, “It’s a true partnership, which makes for an exciting program. The Laboratory applauds the efforts of the partners for working together to implement this program for our youth. These students will have meaningful work experiences supporting businesses in our community.”

The spring CIC session begins in January. Los Alamos businesses interested in submitting a project proposal for an intern should contact Laura Loy at lloy@unm.edu or 505-695-9666. The deadline for businesses to apply to the program is Friday, Dec. 18.

UNM-LA undergraduate students and LAHS juniors and seniors who are interested in the program are required to attend one of two orientation sessions:

  • Friday, Dec. 4, 12 – 2 p.m., UNM-LA room 412 (Building 4)
  • Thursday, Jan. 7, 3:30 – 5:30 p.m., UNM-LA room 412 (Building 4)

To learn more about this program, visit UNM-LA CIC.