These are Southwest Michigan First’s summer of 2016 interns. Out of the six of us working for an economic development firm, not a single one is pursuing a degree in economics. That is probably my favorite thing about the group. We are all so unique and interested in different things aside from economic development but that ends up being of more value to our team than if each one of us was on an economics path. Each one of us brings something different to the table and together that makes us so much stronger as a group.
Our organization as a whole is very much the same as our intern group. They thrive on diversity. Only a small handful of people who work here now could have told you that they would be working for an economic development group before having this job. Some have come from marketing, others in sales, and even some as diverse as social workers before coming to Southwest Michigan First. Our hiring process is based entirely on talent and team fit. This really allows the organization to pull in great people regardless of their background, knowing that they will mesh well with the team when they join.
When I tell people my major, International Studies-Global Health, and then I tell them where my summer internship is, they always seem lost. I have to admit I considered that I might feel a little lost when I got here as well but the organization focuses so much on developing talent and seldom gets hung up on something as trivial as a college major. If you get hired here it means that the organization believes that you have the capability to become whatever they need you to be when the time comes. While I may have had my doubts at the beginning, I am sure that Southwest Michigan First was a good fit for me.