Special to Iredell Free News

RALEIGH — An effort by Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration is matching North Carolina college students in need of work experience with local governments and nonprofits seeking additional help to support COVID-19 response efforts.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused many North Carolina students to lose summer jobs and internships lined up months ago. At the same time, many local governments and nonprofits find themselves in need of additional help as they grapple with the pandemic’s impact on their communities.

“COVID-19 is testing local governments and nonprofits as they work to meet the needs of people in their communities. Through these public service internships, students gain valuable on-the-job experience and local governments and nonprofits gain extra help when they need it most,” Cooper said.

More than 80 North Carolina college students have been matched to opportunities with local government agencies and nonprofits across the state. Nearly all projects are virtual and include opportunities for interns to assist with grant writing and research, marketing and communications, community engagement and volunteer coordination, data analysis, strategic planning, and more.

Interns are working with a variety of organizations, including county economic development departments, local chambers of commerce, non-profit service providers, arts organizations, and others.

The NC COVID-19 Student Response Corps initiative is part of Governor Cooper’s NC Job Ready effort to make sure North Carolinians are prepared for the jobs of today and tomorrow. The program helps strengthen the public service talent pipeline and prepares North Carolina’s students for employment.

This initiative is led by the N.C. Strategic Partnerships team, an effort within the Office of State Budget and Management to build partnerships between government, universities, philanthropy and the private sector. Also involved are the UNC School of Government Lead for NC program, Hometown Strong, the N.C. Association of County Commissioners, the N.C. League of Municipalities, the N.C. Rural Center, and several institutions of higher education.

“It is exciting to partner with the Governor’s Office to pull together this opportunity for students to share their talents with local governments and nonprofits across North Carolina. It is a wonderful idea that happened quickly because many people made it a priority. We hope the students have a great experience and consider pursuing public service as Fellows in Lead for North Carolina and other programs focused on careers in public service,” said Mike Smith, Dean of the UNC School of Government.

A list of current internship opportunities is available by visiting the NC COVID-19 Student Response Corps Database. For more information on the NC COVID-19 Student Response Corps initiative, please contact Caroline Tervo at covidinterns@osbm.nc.gov.

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