As a leader in workforce development throughout the state, the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Foundation constantly receives requests from school administrators and directors of community-based organizations for available internship opportunities for young adults. Unfortunately, there just aren’t enough internship opportunities to go around, and those that do exist often don’t allow the interns to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty in meaningful projects.
That is why the Chamber Foundation created the Remote Internship Experience (RIE), in which teams of young adults serve as “remote interns” for their communities.
The teams launch social entrepreneurship projects that they conceive, plan, execute and present to a panel of business judges. The projects’ objectives are required to benefit the environment, or improve the lives of peers, children, seniors or animals. Students were challenged to stay on time and remain under a $100 budget, as they work together to resolve obstacles.
At the end of the three-month projects, one team wins, and each member of the winning team receives a prize. In addition, the top performing participant is selected as the MVP (most valuable player), as determined by their peers, counselors and Chamber Foundation staff.
Recently, a group of 16 students at the College of New Jersey participated in the program, made possible by a grant from the Kessler Foundation.
At TCNJ, Katie B., a senior in the Career and Community Studies Program, was selected as the MVP for her quiet leadership and thoughtful ways to motivate her teammates. Katie and her team, the “De-Stressors”, tackled the challenge of helping their fellow college students reduce their stress levels during midterm exams. The “De-Stressors” set up an area on TCNJ’s campus where students could make their own stress balls, pop bubble wrap, color pictures, blow bubbles or participate in stretching exercises. The team conducted pre- and post-activity surveys to determine whether their methods were effective.
“I feel like I have become a leader by helping my fellow students and friends before they took exams,” Katie said. “I just love helping people.”