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Business brings internships to U

September 26, 2000
Jeffrey Ellman and Michael Redisch, co-founders of Internship USA, 541 E. Grand River Ave., sit with their intern, Jessica Cavazos, and illustrate their Web site, Internshi —

An East Lansing business is bringing large-company internships to students.

After its initial opening in June, Internship USA, 541 E. Grand River Ave., offered a free service for students to aid them in finding internships in their fields. With the launch of its new Web site,, it is now helping companies recruit students for entry-level jobs.

Several large national brokerage firms, - an Internet company in San Francisco - and local businesses are among those involved with Internship USA. The company helps students find jobs and internships that students may not know exist, said Jeffrey Ellman, co-founder of Internship USA.

“Students go to job fairs and think to themselves, ‘I wonder what the best job here is,’” Ellman said. “We give them broader horizons with jobs not at the fairs.”

Elijah Degen, a Lansing Community College computer information systems student, said he had success with Internship USA.

“I first found out about the company at an MSU job fair,” Degen said. “They were the only ones there who seemed to have promise.”

After Degen’s interview with Ellman and Michael Redisch, the other co-founder of the business, Degen was lined up with an interview at a local advertising firm. Degen said it was the first interview Internship USA had found him, and he got the job.

“I think that a lot of students don’t understand that what we do here is free (to students),” Redisch said. “I like to think that we are the Jerry Maguires of college students.”

The new Web site averages 20,000 hits per day from all over the world.

“We receive e-mails from London and Australia - we are the only company in the world (of this nature),” Ellman said.

Internships have gained popularity in the past 20 years. Statistics show only 5 percent of college graduates had an internship before they left college in 1985. In 1999, more than 80 percent had internships, Ellman said.

In addition to recruiting, Internship USA also has interviewing motivational seminars geared toward making the process of employment easier.

Ellman said the service also takes out some of the awkward parts students go through during interviews.

“When we find a possible company we think would work for a student, we first meet with them to tell them (the student’s) qualifications,” Ellman said.

This initial face-to-face interview gives the employer the first impression of the candidate, without them even being there, Redisch said.

“We also prep students as best we can to make the interview go well,” he said. “For example, if we see that there is a baseball on the guy’s desk, we’ll alert the student to maybe talk about sports.”

With greater emphasis on the new Web site, Internship USA hopes to get the word out to other campuses. Ellman and Redisch hope other links on their site will get students to visit.

As its services are free to students, Internship USA makes a “finder’s fee” from the businesses that hire its clients.

“We are trying to reapply the human touch to job interviews,” Ellman said.

With all the Internet applications, it is easy for students to lose the personal touch they can have interviewing, Ellman said.

Jeremey Dunn, an MSU communication alumnus, used Internship USA’s help to get a job.

“They got me a job at a great brokerage firm in the Detroit area,” Dunn said. “It couldn’t have worked out any better.”


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