There aren't too many things the Kalamazoo folks are prouder of than the Kalamazoo Promise. It's been a point of pride ever since it was announced some 15 years ago. And now the people in charge of it are taking it a step further and involving not only the community but also the region.

The Kalamazoo Promise is challenging regional business partners to hire Promise Scholars for paid college summer 2022 internships. And this challenge has lofty goals for next summer. They are hoping to get internships to a level where at least 22,400 intern hours are worked, leading to $330,000 in intern wages for at least 40 working interns by at least 35 business sponsors.

Doable or Daunting?

The numbers may strike you as doable or as daunting. Getting 40 internships seems reasonable, though whether they can all be paid internships maybe be somewhat challenging. Getting 35 regional businesses on board also seems like a modest and reasonable goal.

"Higher Promise is a fun community challenge and opportunity for the business community to help take the Promise to the next level." - Von Washington, Jr., Executive Director of Community Relations for the Kalamazoo Promise.

This is a truly interesting next step. The Promise makes it possible for Kalamazoo Public Schools graduates to be able to afford college. That's one big hurdle, but what good is that education if students can't do anything with it.

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Now obviously, looking around there are plenty of jobs, but good quality jobs? Setting up ongoing internships would appear to be a win-win, as employers would have a steady stream of candidates to bring in, at little risk, and see if they have a future with their company. Getting a foot in the door would appear to be a good start to this.

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