FARMINGTON — A new community and university partnership will let students put their class studies to work in the real world of community businesses and organizations.

The University of Maine at Farmington has received a three-year grant totaling $45,000 from the Bangor Savings Bank Foundation to fund student internships for a new program, the UMF Partnership for Civic Advancement.

The internships will provide a leg up for students coming out of UMF and starting their careers as a quality education is combined with life experiences, Becky Davis-Allen, vice president and branch manager of Bangor Savings Main Street branch, said.

Davis-Allen recently presented an initial check of $15,000 for this first year of the program to Theodora J. Kalikow, UMF president, and Celeste Branham, UMF vice president of student and community services.

“This is an exciting moment for both the University and Bangor Savings Bank as we find new ways to work together to benefit the community while enhancing student learning with meaningful, hands-on experience in professionally-based work environments,” Kalikow said.

A variety of business, nonprofits and organizations will benefit from the  approximately 20-student interns who will help in a number of ways according to the business’ needs, Branham said. 

The students, in turn, will gain work and life experiences they need to become successful employees while they work toward their own learning goals. They will be known as UMF-Bangor Savings Bank Interns.

Bangor Savings became involved when a former employee’s daughter attended UMF. The education she received was good but she wanted more life experiences before going from school out into the working world, Davis-Allen said.

Bank officials jumped on board with the idea “to help connect students with small businesses and community organizations in their community,” as did Kalikow creating the partnership, she added.

The grant from Bangor Savings will provide stipends to outstanding student interns involved in the new internship program. Internships are expected to begin this fall.

The skills and interests of students and faculty mentors will be matched with a local business or organization to help with projects “that are critical to their operating and strategic success,” according to UMF officials

Leadership and volunteerism are also traits to be developed in students working with the UMF Partnership for Civic Advancement program, Branham said.

The presentation took place in the new home for the partnership at 149 Quebec St. on the UMF campus.

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