The University of New Mexico-Gallup (UNM-G) and the Gallup Land Partners (GLP) have joined forces for a new internship program which partners students with local businesses to give future entrepreneurs hands-on experience in real-world work settings.
During the fall 2014 semester, four students from the UNM-G business program were paired with participating business professionals to increase student awareness of community needs and to strengthen campus-community ties. Students are able to develop resume-building experiences while developing skills in the areas of interviewing, negotiating, networking and other “soft skills” that help with the transition from school to work force.
Robert Roche, president and CEO of GLP, believes strongly in his vision to directly affect the business community by starting with students. “Where I am today has very little to do with where I started,” Roche said. “I wanted to give this same opportunity to these UNM-Gallup students and give them the support that I received when I was their age. All of the students were chosen because of their excellent grades and work ethic. I believe that excellence should be rewarded and the internships are our way of going about that. I also want to contribute to Gallup and look forward to a long relationship with the community. Starting in one place and finishing in another is the story of my life and will hopefully be the story of these students as well.”
The internship is offered to students who are in their second year of study, have a 3.2 or better grade point average and have expressed an interest in entrepreneurship. The hands-on experience comes with a $1,000 scholarship per semester which is funded by GLP. The interns receive up to six credit hours towards their degree by working 10-20 hours per week with their business partners.
This opportunity also provides businesses an excellent way to view and recruit new, energetic and skilled employees who bring new perspectives and fresh ideas. It is hoped that student interns may seamlessly transition to full-time employees who will require little in the way of orientation, and can be immediately productive. GLP, who sponsors intern Anthony Tsosie, knows the benefit of allowing students direct experience in the work place.
“We are creating a synergistic relationship between upcoming entrepreneurs from all departments into the community. This experience will help prepare these young entrepreneurs by showing them how successful businesses perform,” Aaron Kowalski, GLP representative said.
Intern Maryellen Tom, who is working at Adventure Gallup and Beyond, said “I am enjoying the working environment and the groups of people are excellent. I am working hard and dreaming big.”
The Greater Gallup Economic Development Corporation is sponsoring Melody Natewa who said “the GGEDC helped me improve in greater lengths on how a business should be presented. I am seeing how perfection is the key.”
The law offices of Mason and Isaacson, P.A. hosted intern Arlinda Fatty this past semester who had high praise for her experience in the legal field. “This is an awesome and amazing program because I am becoming more well-rounded and excited about the future.”
GLP is scheduled to open their Gallup Energy Logistics Park next year which will be located northwest of Gallup. Local businesses interested in participating in the GLP Entrepreneurship Initiative are encouraged to contact Aaron Kowalski at (505) 879-9759 or Adam Wilkey at (435) 703-4829.