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Charter Bank Gift Supports UW-Eau Claire
Business Internship Initiative

 MAILED:  March 19, 2003

EAU CLAIRE — In the summer and fall of 2000, southwestern Wisconsin native Anna Schrader was a business administration and psychology student at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and an intern at Silicon Logic Engineering. Well before her December graduation SLE offered her a full-time position, and by January 2001 she was working in corporate communications for the Eau Claire firm.

Increasing numbers of UW-Eau Claire business students now are likely to repeat Schrader's progression from student intern to full-time employee for a Chippewa Valley firm. A new initiative will develop internship opportunities for College of Business students with businesses in the Chippewa Valley, thanks to a $25,000 pledge from Charter Bank Eau Claire to establish the William Boyken/Charter Bank Internship Fund through the UW-Eau Claire Foundation.

"Charter Bank has been an active partner in the Eau Claire area business community for 23 years," said Dean Olson, Charter Bank president. "Consequently, when UW-Eau Claire gave us the opportunity to provide some direction for our UW-Eau Claire Foundation donation, the College of Business was our first choice."

Charter Bank's gift to support the business internship initiative is recognized as a contribution to Fulfilling the Promise of Excellence, UW-Eau Claire's ongoing comprehensive fund-raising campaign to secure $35 million in private support by July 2005 for the university's people and programs.

In addition to supporting the internship initiative, the new fund honors Eau Claire resident William Boyken, who was Charter Bank president and board chairman from 1984 until his retirement in 1991.

"I am a firm believer in internships," said Boyken, who, along with his wife, Muriel, has been a longtime supporter of scholarships and other programs through the UW-Eau Claire Foundation. "Through this program, more businesses can sponsor internships and more graduates will be acquainted with the opportunities in Eau Claire and areas close by."

The internship initiative, to be implemented next fall, will provide matching dollars to encourage area employers to offer paid internships to College of Business students. Another goal of the program is to encourage more students to seek employment in the Chippewa Valley once they graduate.

"This support from Charter Bank is a wonderful gift to the community, facilitating a program through which UW-Eau Claire and area businesses can connect in a way that benefits our entire region," said Thomas Dock, dean of the UW-Eau Claire College of Business. "This program not only will provide invaluable experiences for our business students, but it will go a long way toward retaining the best and brightest graduates as employees and residents here in the Chippewa Valley."

Internships provide benefits for students and employers alike, said Jeanne Skoug, director of UW-Eau Claire's Office of Career Services.

"We're excited about this opportunity to help Chippewa Valley employers develop internships and incorporate the talents of UW-Eau Claire students into the workplace," Skoug said.

She noted that, according to recent research by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, students who participate in internships earn better grades when they return to the classroom, have more employment options when they graduate, receive higher salary offers from their first employers and enjoy greater job satisfaction than their inexperienced peers.

For employers, internships offer a way to handle work overload and/or projects placed on the back burner that never seem to fit into employees' work schedules, Skoug said, explaining that UW-Eau Claire's Career Services staff works with employers to determine specific projects that would be suitable for interns. She also noted that employers rate internships as one of the most effective recruiting tools.

"Until an employer actually hires an intern, they're often unaware of the value an intern can bring," she said. "Interns bring an incredible set of skills and talents into the workplace. In addition, their new and fresh ideas typically give an invigorating sense of energy and enthusiasm to other employees."

For Schrader, who earlier this year was promoted to director of corporate communications at SLE, an internship provided the opportunity to evolve from a business student to a business professional.

"A lot of students are in the mind-set of ‘I'm a college student, not a businessperson,'" Schrader said. "The internship gave me the opportunity not only to apply what I learned in my college courses, but also to learn and practice professionalism."


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 Judy Berthiaume, Director
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
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Updated: March 19, 2003