In conjunction with the Labs for Industry Futures and Transformation (LIFT) Network, the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership has announced the conclusion of a successful pilot year of the LIFT Network Internship Program.

By providing regional companies with tailored applicant lists of students sourced from regional colleges and universities, or returning home for summer, the LIFT Network Internship Program helped STEM and business undergraduate and graduate students find internships with regional firms – providing roles focused on the following occupational fields: manufacturing, technology, engineering, data science and analytics, software development, supply chain/logistics management, information technology, and research and development.

“One of the biggest challenges facing advanced industry employers in our regional economy is finding and retaining great talent to drive innovation within their firms,” shared South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership Director of Education and Workforce, Leighton Johnson. “Serving a region that contains more than nine colleges/universities and over 40,000 students, this internship program catalyzes professional relationships between regional STEM and business students and companies eager to retain them as full-time employees within the region.” 

Administered by South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership, the LIFT Network Internship Program distributed more than $70,000 to subsidize 34 internships for employers in Elkhart, Marshall, and St. Joseph Counties during Summer 2021. Program partners included the University of Notre Dame’s Center for Civic InnovationenFocusIT Sector PartnershipGreater Elkhart Chamber of CommercePlymouth Chamber of Commerce and the South Bend Regional Chamber

Participating companies in Summer 2021 included 1st Source Bank, Abonmarche, AM General, Ameri-Can Engineering, American Technology Components, Aunalytics, Beacon Health System, BMI Audit Services, Conn-Selmer, CTS Corp, ITAMCO, Kem Krest, Lawson-Fisher Associates, The Lebermuth Company, Lippert Components, MackTool & Engineering, Norco Industries, Robert Weed Corp, Sibley Machine, SPI Industries, and Universal Bearings.

“The program was a great aid to employers in subsidizing wages and it allowed us to pay a little higher rate than we normally would,” shared ITAMCO Training and Organizational Development Manager, Matt Davis. “It was a great opportunity to attract and retain talent in our region as we intend to hire both of our interns when they complete college.”

The average intern worked 405 hours at $16.00/hour and earned over $6,000. Interns also attended social, professional development, and networking events hosted by regional chambers of commerce—events that brought LIFT Network Interns to regional venues, events, and resources such as the Plymouth Motor Speedway, the Elkhart Jazz Fest, The History Museum and Studebaker National Museum, Four Winds Field, the Michiana Lean Network, and the Wild Rose Moon Production House.

Student recruitment for Summer 2022 has already begun. South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership will conduct virtual employer information sessions to help interested employers learn more about the forthcoming application cycle. For more information and to register for the November 5th session, click here or the November 11th, click here.

To access the Summer 2022 Employer Application, please visit the program homepage or email Leighton Johnson at to learn more.