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Since May 26, 850 Summer Enrichment Internship Program participants have worked with more than 300 employers throughout the county, performing community outreach; setting up computers; helping and learning about building operations, including custodial and purchasing; and learning about legal functions of local government.
Students come from Las Cruces Public Schools, Gadsden Independent School District and Hatch Valley Public Schools, and from area charter schools.
The program is funded through a grant from the New Mexico Public Education Department’s College and Career Readiness Bureau, as part of the federal government’s pandemic relief efforts, the county said in a news release. This year, $2.7 million funded the program, compared to $1.3 million in 2021, when the county had 520 interns.
“The Summer Enrichment Internship Program is stronger this year,” said County Manager Fernando R. Macias. “We learned from 2021 that eligible students wanted to work more hours and have more flexibility about when to end their internship experience.”
This year, students earned $13 per hour (up to $2,600 for the summer), compared to $10.50 in 2021. They can work up to 200 hours this year, an increase of 80 hours from 2021, and they have more scheduling flexibility, as the internship program continues through Aug. 31.
Interns may even work part-time, as they return to school, if that is feasible for them, said internship program supervisor Lani Davis.
Local nonprofits and businesses partnered with Doña Ana County to recruit students and identify work opportunities that qualified for the internship program, the county said.
Memorial Medical Center, Mesilla Valley Transport, Chaparral Holding and Dickerson Catering are among the internship hosts who increased their ranks for the summer while providing an opportunity for interns to earn money and learn about a variety of local careers, workplaces and industries, the news release said.
Interns supported nonprofits and helped government agencies provide services to the community, from the Animal Service Center of Mesilla Valley to Aprendamos and the cities of Anthony, Las Cruces and Sunland Park.
“The 49 interns at Doña Ana County helped 14 departments, including community development, the assessors’ office, fleet and engineering and roads,” Macias said. “We saw new, enthusiastic, eager-to-learn interns come in every day. They brought a new perspective and made the workload lighter. We are grateful for each of them and appreciate the many valuable contributions they made.”