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Job opportunities for students staying in Mich.




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Social relations and policy sophomore Hersh Merenstein works at his desk Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, at the Boji Tower, 124 Allegan Street, Lansing. Almost 15% of state of Michigan employees are eligible for retirement next year, leading to more job opportunities for student interns. Adam Toolin/The State News



As Michigan’s economy slowly recovers from the recession, job opportunities still are available for students now that almost 15 percent of the state workers are slated to retire next year, said Charisse Blanks, internship and career consultant for the state of Michigan.

“When we have retirement phases like that, every job won’t be replaced, but at least half of them will be filled,” Blanks said. “We want to encourage our students to stay in the state of Michigan — we want to provide them with (careers).”

The state offers internship positions in almost all 17 departments, including Michigan State Police, Corrections and the Department of Technology Management and Budget.

Positions are available across the state, but most are in Lansing, Blanks said. Internships are broken up based on the academic calendar, and applications are accepted year-round.

“The state of Michigan (has) increased our efforts to try to retain our talents here in the state,” Blanks said.

According to the MSU 2011 Destination Survey Report, 57 percent of the MSU graduates surveyed said they were employed in Michigan, compared to 51 percent in 2006.

In addition to taking two classes, family community services senior Sarah Pfund is working for the Department of Human Services in Lansing, which fulfills an internship requirement and experience in her planned career field. She does not know exactly what she will be doing during her internship, which she just started Tuesday.

Omas Fregene, departmental recruiter for the State of Michigan Department of Technology Management and Budget, started working for the state as an intern, and it unexpectedly led him to a full-time job.

“The way I look at internships, it’s like a three-month interview process, (and) in my case a position came up,” Fregene said. “It’s a great networking opportunity.”

Fregene said one of the advantages of the state’s internship program is that there are people, including Blanks, who are dedicated to bringing in and helping the interns.

For Pfund, having an internship with the state of Michigan is more than a great opportunity ­— it’s a chance to connect with her father, whom she lost a few years ago.

Pfund said her father worked for the state, but she never got to talk about work with him. Now, she hopes to follow in her father’s footsteps and get a full-time job out of her internship.

“I sort of feel like he had something to do with it, with me being in that position,” Pfund said. “This is the greatest thing for me to be able to have that, to share that, even though he’s not here.”


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