Internship with the Wells County, IN Chamber of Commerce
Benjamin, Kimberly A.
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My internship this summer to fulfill the requirements of the Senior Individualized Project was my introduction into the "business" world. I say "business" because I worked in a chamber of commerce in a small county in Indiana, therefore, there wasn't a lot of actual "business" with which I came into contact. My internship, though, did introduce me to the office environment. I was lucky enough to get the chance to use a bit of what I have learned here at Kalamazoo College when I did an industrial wage and benefit survey for the chamber. The only problem with my survey was that I couldn't do any in-depth analyses of the results. This was because I was told to keep the summary of the survey very simple, in language and form, so that anyone could read and understand it. I don't go into great detail in this paper about the results of the survey, because it is all included in the summary, which can be found in the appendices. I found that a lot of the work done in the chamber of commerce has more to do with people skills than with actual business. The chamber also was into a lot of Economic Development. The CEO of the chamber, Robert Hayden, was often meeting with people to get them interested in bringing their businesses to Wells County. The biggest problem that the businesses in Wells County faced was a lack of financial support for development from the local government. The county government is made up of many farmers, who often didn't see the need to support business in the area. Therefore, much of the time, Bob was trying to convince the council to give money to business. This is why I say that people skills are very important in working in this type of environment not only does the chamber have to convince business owners that it is a good investment for their company, but the chamber must also be advocates for their clients. This sort of work, I found, has a lot of small town politics involved.