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Universities in the state of Michigan worked together to support Michigan-based businesses with internship funding again in 2019 through the Michigan Corporate Relations Network.



109 companies took advantage of the program, offering 122 internships to students from Michigan universities. MCRN funded nearly $350,000 for companies to hire student interns to assist their businesses through the Small Company Internship Award (SCIA).

screen-shot-2019-10-08-at-7-38-50-amOne of MCRN’s primary goals is to retain top talent in the state of Michigan. SCIA works to accomplish this goal by helping small companies and startups pay to hire student interns, focused on STEM projects, for the summer. The award matches half of an intern’s total wages, up to $3,500–an amount that at a small company can be the difference between hiring an intern or going without.  Students are in turn exposed to a potentially more engaging experience than an entry-level position at a global corporation out of state.

19 of these students were hired as full-time employees after their internship ended and 30 were retained part-time while they continue their education.

Bill Koetting worked closely with his intern from Western Michigan University. “The internship helped accelerate our move in process and allowed us to secure a large contract manufacturing project. Josh was instrumental in allowing my senior managers to focus on the planning and tasks resolution.”

Echoed Nicholas Kennaugh from UM-Dearborn on his experience, “This internship helped to solidify my interest in electrical/computer engineering and making me feel confident in choosing the right area to study and work in.”

Brad Kahr, President of CEO Image Systems, stated his intern from Michigan Tech University, Tyler Arthur, made a significant impact on the company.  “Tyler created critical software code that will become a core feature of our next version of software.”

SCIA is one of two support services through MCRN. The Small Company Innovation Program (SCIP) awards matching research funds to Michigan-based companies last year, helping them find a research expert at a Michigan public university that fits their business needs.

MCRN is funded through the entrepreneurship and innovation initiative of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).

Public universities participating in MCRN include:

  • Central Michigan University
  • Eastern Michigan University
  • Ferris State University
  • Grand Valley State University
  • Lake Superior State University
  • Michigan State University
  • Michigan Technological University
  • Northern Michigan University
  • Oakland University
  • Saginaw Valley State University
  • University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
  • University of Michigan – Flint
  • University of Michigan – Dearborn
  • Wayne State University
  • Western Michigan University

More information on MCRN and these funding programs can be found at