Internships Make an Impact

By Emma Meyer, Chamber Intern

Emma Meyer is a senior at Valley Center High School and plans to attend KSU in the fall to pursue a marketing degree. Follow @vchsinterns on Twitter to see posts about Emma’s experience and the work of other Valley Center High students.

Many people probably do not expect to see a high school intern in a professional business setting, but here I am at the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce. I began my internship with the Marketing & Communications Department in January and will complete it this week.

I’m a senior at Valley Center High School and am involved in activities ranging from volleyball and softball to National Honors Society and Student Council. Additionally, I am in the Internship Program that is coordinated by Mrs. Cody Lee. The program is for seniors, and this year there are 25 participants. Each student is released from class to go to their internship every day, and our internship experiences help us determine what we would like to pursue as a career. It helped me tremendously because I had no idea what I wanted to do until recently.

My first semester, I interned at Wesley Medical Center and Newton Medical Center. I saw some really cool things like a hysterectomy and open heart surgery… and no I did not pass out in the operating room. I found these things to be fascinating but ultimately decided the medical field is not for me. I wondered if I would enjoy something in the business field, so here I am.

I have loved every second that I have spent at the Chamber. Everyone is so nice and welcoming, and I am able to contribute to the team every day. Some of my projects  included posting ribbon-cutting photos on social media and writing captions for Chamber event pictures that are published in the Wichita Eagle. My biggest assignment dealt with the #ILoveWichita Campaign. I found pictures on Instagram that have used #ILoveWichita and selected a few each week that were later displayed on billboards throughout Wichita.

This fall, I plan to attend Kansas State University with a major in Marketing. My time at the Chamber has helped make this decision easier. I am very thankful for the things my internship has taught me and how it has allowed me to meet many amazing people and businesses in the Wichita area.

Experiences like the one Emma described above are key to retaining talent for Wichita. The Youth Employment Project (YEP), led by the Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas, teaches Wichitans, as young as age 16, the skills necessary to become great employees and then connects them with an employer to provide a work experience to practice those skills. The program’s goal is to combat the exodus of our talent is by forging a deeper and earlier connection with our local talent pool.

How can you get involved?

  • HIRE
    interns (age 14-21) for a six- to 10-week paid work experience opportunity.
    a paid intern work experience opportunity at another business or organization.
    about this important program through your own professional and social networks.

For more information contact the Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas:
Employers  call 316-771-6622
Intern Applicants – call 316-771-6620

Follow this link to see a 2017 video produced by the Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas regarding the Youth Employment Project from the perspective of employers.

Interns Choose Wichita

by Barry Schwan
Owner, House of Schwan, Inc.
2016 Chairman of the Board for the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce

Barry Schwan 2016 Chamber Chairman

Barry Schwan
2016 Chamber Chairman

Lyndsey Edwards has opted to stay in Wichita after completing her Bachelor of Arts in Communication at Wichita State University this semester. So has Madison Harris, who recently graduated from Valley Center High School. And Wichita will be a much better place because they’ve both decided to pour their considerable energy and talent back into our region.

Both of these high-achieving young women interned with the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce during the spring semester this year. And in doing so, they built stronger connections to the business community and a deeper affection for Wichita.

Madison said it best in a recent blog post she wrote about her internship experience. “Before starting my internship I was a Wichitan because I was born here. But now I am one because I choose to be.” In fact, Madison now describes Wichita as her “forever home.”

It’s clear from her comments that Madison understands that internships are about much more than sharpening your skills and building your resume. They’re also about making professional and personal connections that have the potential to accelerate career options and create a permanent home.

As a former educator and the 2016 Chairman of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce, I want to thank every business leader who has committed the resources to creating these meaningful opportunities. Internships are essential for student growth, but they’re also imperative to the vitality of our business community.

That’s why the Chamber is so pleased to promote the Intern Return program developed by our affiliate, the Young Professionals of Wichita (YPW). Every year the YPW staff and volunteers develop activities and opportunities to familiarize interns with all that’s unique about Wichita. Deepening their ties to Wichita and connecting them with colleagues in other industries is another way to ensure that our community retains our brightest and best talent.

Not every intern will commit to staying in Wichita. But many of those who do make that choice will undoubtedly contribute innovative ideas that strengthen our organizations and companies. And those who move to other areas of the country and even the world will be goodwill ambassadors for our community.

The responsibility is on us, the business community, to create these meaningful opportunities. Involving interns in YPW’s Intern Return program is another important way to demonstrate that Wichita is a place they should consider for permanent employment. These investments in our students ultimately benefit all of us.

It’s nothing short of thrilling when high achievers who have the opportunity to contribute their talents anywhere on the globe make the choice to stay here. It means we’ve all done a great job of communicating the distinct advantages Wichita has to offer and strengthening their personal and professional ties to the region.

Congratulations to all of this year’s graduates. And a special note of  thanks to all the employers who gave them an opportunity to apply their classroom lessons in real-life situations.

Check the May 27 entry at to read the entire post by intern Madison Harris. An edited form of today’s blog post was published in today’s Wichita Eagle.