Dr. Derek Graff trained and advised FLC student Steele Brimhall in the field of dentistry during Brimhall's internship last fall.

When it comes to career preparation, nothing beats real-world experience.

A new internship program coordinated by the FLC Career Services office and the Durango Chamber of Commerce is creating opportunities for students to get that hands-on professional experience, earning workplace wisdom and insights, while deepening their skills and knowledge.

The new and improved Skyhawks Job Source provides a portal for students to learn about and apply for internships with businesses, agencies, and organizations in the Durango area. To compliment that service, the Durango Chamber of Commerce has launched a page on its durangobusiness.org website to connect local employers with student interns via the Career Services office.

“This new internship program partnership with the Durango Chamber of Commerce and Fort Lewis College provides an excellent avenue for our students to engage with the community,” says program coordinator Jill Kolodzne. “It’s a win-win for the students and the employers, because students get an opportunity to gain experience in their field while employers get a chance to recruit new talent and share their expertise.”

Through the program, Career Services will recruit, mentor, and support student interns, while also helping businesses establish effective and successful internship experiences. And to be sure everyone is on the same page, interns work with the employer to develop a detailed plan to accomplish specific internship goals, with clear expectations about training, work schedule, service dates and performance standards.

To keep both employer and intern expectations and goals aligned, the program is using the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ definition of an internship:

  • The experience is an extension of the classroom: a learning experience that provides for applying the knowledge gained so far in their college career.
  • The skills or knowledge learned are transferable to other employment settings.
  • The experience has a defined beginning and ending, guided by a job description with desired qualifications.
  • There are clearly defined learning objectives related to the professional goals of the student’s academic coursework.
  • There is supervision by a professional with expertise and educational and/or professional background in the field of the experience.
  • There is routine feedback by the experienced supervisor.
  • There are resources, equipment, and facilities provided by the host employer that support learning objectives/goals.

For more information, visit Career Services, the Durango Chamber of Commerce, or contact program coordinator Jill Kolodzne at jskolodzne@fortlewis.edu or 970-247-7321.