Enid Summer Internship Program is in search of more organization participation.

The Enid Regional Development Alliance partnership program — formerly Enid Summer Achievers Program — helps local organizations in the process of hiring and housing summer interns while providing social opportunities.

“The reason we started this four years ago was to try to get more diverse talent to our region — diversity of thought and having some of the best and brightest from college and universities around the nation to move here and be a part of our local economy,” said ERDA Executive Director Brent Kisling. “One of the best ways to do that is bring them in as an intern, let them actually experience the community firsthand, get to see a company firsthand, meet CEOs, meet those folks that are hiring and then hopefully after they graduate they will come back here and stay long term.”

Kisling said the program needs more organization involvement. Several organizations have internship programs outside of ESIP but have difficulty finding short-term housing, Kisling said. ERDA member organizations may have their interns stay in Northern Oklahoma College Enid’s loft apartment housing from June 1 to Aug. 1 for free, Kisling said. The apartment housing costs include utilities, wifi, complete kitchen and other items. Kisling said participants mainly just need to bring their personal items. Non-ERDA members pay a nominal fee for the service.

“If an employer is interested in participating and has never had an intern before, we can help them with job descriptions,” Kisling said.

Kisling said the program also offers training on how to best use an intern in the office.

“It’s a challenge timing wise to handle an intern, train them during the summer knowing you’re not going to have them for years to come,” Kisling said. “When they leave at 5 p.m. you’re (the employer) really not that concerned with what they do, you just wait until they show up the next morning. That’s where we come in.”

Debbie Prescott, with ERDA, said once organizations provide a job description, ERDA will then match the job description with qualified candidates from career fairs.

“We match the job description with the student,” Prescott said. “The employer will decide who they want to interview and hire. Then the intern comes to Enid.”

Kisling said ERDA helps program participants find the good restaurants in town, visit local venues, museums, shops and hosts social activities.

“If they’re going to come back to the area, they need to have a great experience in the community,” Kisling said.

Prescott said participants are connected to Enid Young Professionals and provided an opportunity to visit several civic groups, like Rotary and AMBUCS.

Prescott said the program had participants from eight states last year, and it averages 12 to 15 interns in addition to Koch Fertilizer plant employees.

The first career fair is Feb. 8 and Prescott encouraged employers to send her a job description before then.

Those interested in participating should call Prescott at (580) 233-4232 or email her at Prescott@GrowEnid.com.