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Frequently Asked Questions
Gorge Works is an industry-driven initiative to build our own workforce.
For years, the Port of The Dalles and other economic development organizations in the Columbia Gorge have been hearing about the critical workforce shortage from local and regional companies. This year, we made a commitment to develop our own workforce initiative. In partnership with industry leaders, the Port, Columbia Gorge Community College, Worksource Oregon, The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce and several other organizations developed Gorge Works in an effort to grow and attract talent to the Gorge. We are entering our pilot year and expect to offer between 10 and 15 internships or apprenticeships. Applications for 9-week Summer 2018 paid work experiences are due by January 31, 2018.
What is Gorge Works?
The summer program is a 9-week paid, project-based program offering internships and apprenticeships. The Host Site hires and manages their intern. Gorge Works is responsible for the recruitment, application process, calendar development, intern welcome packet, marketing, facilitation, coordination, media relations, and data collection.
How is the Port of The Dalles involved?
The Port provides business recruitment, intern application process, and Host Site mentoring. The Port provides the Gorge Works Intern Coordinator, who will be responsible for communication among all the interns as well as other internship duties. Gorge Works is available for any questions or additional support a company may need throughout the entirety of the internship.
Where are the interns coming from?
Interns are recruited from all over the area, including but not limited to, all area high schools, Columbia Gorge Community College, Worksource Oregon and Washington, area Chambers of Commerce, and other mechanisms. Interns are not required to be in school. Most companies do require the intern to be 18 by the time the program begins.
How does a company hire an intern?
This internship is designed to fit the needs of a company AND the interns. Gorge Works manages the intern application process and assembles the candidate packets. Each company interviews their top choice candidates and hires the intern directly. Ultimately, hiring an intern is the company’s choice; no host will be forced to hire an intern if there is no one that fits the needs of that company. All interns must be hired by mid-April.
What is the Return on Investment (ROI)?
While the specific ROI will depend on the project parameters and other factors, this internship is designed not only to mentor youth in their career development, but also allows the Host Sites to complete much-needed projects.
How much will it cost?
The interns will be paid by the Host Site at least minimum wage for the duration of the 9-week program, (rate varies between Oregon and Washington and may change during the program) plus taxes. You may also consider paying a voluntary $300 participation fee to the Port to cover program administration.
What does a Host Site need to provide?
Host Sites provide a project-based work plan designed to allow learning for the intern while filling a business need. The company provides a staff member who is available for guidance and questions as the participant’s mentor. Finally, participants need to have a place of their own to land and materials to get their job done (i.e. desk, chair, workbench, computer, equipment, paper, pens, etc.).
What is the time commitment?
The program runs 9 weeks from mid-June to mid-August each summer. These full-time (32-40 hours) internships run the duration of the nine weeks. The intern’s hours can be adjusted to a company’s specific needs. While the interns will be full-time, there will be a few hours once a week where the interns will not be available to work on projects, but will still be paid for those hours (i.e., they will be at a professional development seminar at another Host Site). The intern could also start before and/or end after the 9-week program. It is up to the company.
How does Gorge Works structure the weekly Professional Development sessions?
The interns will attend a Professional Development Workshop each Wednesday morning. The topics are developed by the steering committee and taught by hosts or community leaders. The session topics vary, but might include Workplace Expectations, Communication, Project Management, Professional Presentations, LEAN 101, Leadership, and Finance. The sessions include company and community learning tours.
What does it take to host a half-day Professional Development Workshop?
Gorge Works asks local business and community leaders to be speakers and provide locations to hold the session. Often Professional Development Speakers provide snacks and are responsible for bringing all the materials they need for the presentation. Gorge Works manages the Professional Development Workshop Calendar. Hosting a Professional Development Workshop requires a topic and plan for teaching the subject.
Program overview and host applications – https://gorgeworks.com
Updates and profiles – https://www.facebook.com/GorgeWorks/
Kathy Ursprung, Marketing and Communications
Bayoán Ware, Intern Coordinator