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Indiana County Chamber of Commerce announces clearinghouse for internships

| Friday, Dec. 13, 2013, 11:27 a.m.
Bruce Siskawicz | The Dispatch
Members of Future Business Leaders of America chapters from local high schools attended the annual Indiana County Chamber of Commerce luncheon Dec. 6 at Indiana's Kovalchick Complex. The names/grades of the attendees representing Homer-Center (HC) and Marion Center (MC) schools were, from left: (front row) Lauren Woodburn, 12/MC; Breonna Ruffner, 12/HC; Madison Smith, 12/HC; and Morgan Smith, 12/HC; (back row) Jon Mabon, 12/MC; Jake Rising, 12/MC; Michael Sweeney, 12/HC; and Mitchell Gordish, 10/MC.

The Indiana County Chamber of Commerce, concluding its 100th year of operation, will be making moves to draw eager young businesspeople to the county through a new internship program, chairman Bob Kane announced at the Chamber's annual luncheon Dec. 6 at the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Center.

The Indiana County Chamber of Commerce Center for Internship, Kane said, will serve as a clearinghouse to connect young people interested in internship opportunities with Chamber member businesses.

Kane's experience serving as an intern during his time as a student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania left a lasting impression and was one of the reasons he returned to the area.

“I was introduced to a lot of the business leaders of Indiana County, I was introduced to a lot of the businesses in Indiana County, and I learned a lot about Indiana County that I wouldn't have learned if I was just inside the four walls of my dormitory at IUP,” Kane said. “That turned out to be a very important experience for me.”

Students from county high school Future Business Leaders of America groups and IUP attended the luncheon, and Kane encouraged the young people to promote business growth in Indiana County after graduation.

“As we conclude our 100th year, I thought, instead of talking about all the things we've done in our past and reading about all our accomplishments, I'd rather talk about the future,” Kane said. “This year, the Chamber extended invitations to all seven county schools to send some of their FBLA representatives. ... These are our future business leaders of Indiana County.”

Those future business leaders could go on to found the next multi-billion-dollar tech startup or ultra-successful corporation, Kane said, noting he hoped those potential businesses would be headquartered in Indiana County.

“I believe very strongly that if we expect our high school graduates and college graduates to stay here, we need to create opportunities for them to learn first-hand that Indiana County is open for business,” Kane added. “We need to provide these fine, young, eager prospective businessmen and women the opportunities for mentorship... If we make this investment in these kids today, I promise you it will pay dividends in the long term.”

The Center for Internship will only be as strong as the internship opportunities it can promote, Kane said, as he urged Chamber businesses to do their part in helping the program succeed.

“Now, for this to work, we need to execute as a Chamber. This won't work if our Chamber members don't decide to participate in internship programs,” Kane said. “I strongly encourage all of you, if you have the power to do so, to examine this and to look at the importance of how if we invest in these kids, long-term they could end up coming back and raising their families here and bringing their businesses here.”

Greg Reinbold is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2913 or

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