In the spring of 2010, Monica Chavez of the Office of Community Enhancement and Engagement unveiled the new Student Apprenticeships in Nonprofit Management program. Each apprentice was chosen via an application and interview process to work under the executive director of one of six community organizations. The program seeks to offer students a professional experience in a nonprofit setting while simultaneously increasing collaboration between local groups and providing consistent and reliable labor for local do-good organizations. To accomplish these goals, the apprenticeships require ten hours of work per week from mid-August until the end of the following July and include some work during school vacations. The six apprentices also receive a weekly stipend to meet over lunch to discuss opportunities for collaboration between their respective organizations and between the town and Grinnell College.
My Apprenticeship is with Imagine Grinnell, a quality of life foundation that has been involved in dozens of projects in the town of Grinnell, including the farmer's market, Bike to Work Week, the new community garden, and expansion of the Grinnell Area Recreation Trail. My work has been diverse and evolving. I work directly with the Executive Director in planning and marketing for Imagine Grinnell's many events. I have coordinated volunteers and arranged catering, kept up the blog and website, designed flyers, written press releases, and attended many meetings, among other tasks and projects. I have particularly enjoyed working off-campus and getting involved in various events in the town of Grinnell. Overall, my job has been rewarding – I've learned valuable workplace skills, worked closely with an active board of directors, executive director and many prominent community members, and, I hope, positively impacted my organization and the town that has so graciously hosted me these past four years.