IC/CR a hot spot for professionals, group contends

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The Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce building is seen on July 22, 2018. (Katina Zentz/The Daily Iowan)

With many students are in the full swing of their summer internships, interns in the Iowa City and Cedar Rapids area will have the opportunity to meet other interns and grow their professional network.

The Iowa City Intern Club seeks to retain young professionals in the local area. The Intern Club started this year by the Iowa City Chamber of Commerce in partnership with ICR Iowa (formerly Cedar Rapids Iowa City Corridor Development Corp.), EPIC, and a handful of business leaders in the corridor and Cedar Rapids area.

This summer, interns from companies such as ACT, Northwestern Mutual, Leapfrog Technologies, UI Community Credit Union, Rockwell Collins, and others have the opportunity to meet other interns, grow their professional network, and experience all that Iowa City has to offer.

The club has held events for the interns at the Downtown Block Party, Saturday Farmers’ Market, Friday Night Concerts, and a progressive dinner. The interns plan on meeting July 27 at the Book it To Iowa City Bash, which will welcome RAGBRAI riders into town.

On July 19, interns had the opportunity to attend the EPIC Summer Semiannual Bash, which allowed them to network with people further along in their careers and find out more about why they chose to live and work in the Iowa City and Cedar Rapids area.

Emily Wenzel, the events and communications coordinator for the Iowa City Chamber of Commerce, said two of the chamber’s missions are to help interns feel connected to the area and to help them realize all of the fun things there are to do in Iowa City.

Another goal of the club is help young interns grow professionally and realize the value of a community-oriented workforce.

“This program provides an opportunity for interns to learn the value of networking with each other and exposes them to the value of the chamber early in their careers,” Wenzel said.

The Intern Club would also like to see interns consider the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids area as a place to begin their careers. While Des Moines or Chicago may seem like better markets for young professionals, the Intern Club seeks to add Iowa City to that list.

Tim Carty, the ICR Iowa director of talent attraction, said too many recent graduates do not realize the career potential for young professionals in the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids area.

“We want our interns to understand that there are a lot of different opportunities for them at numerous companies, there is more than one job for young professionals in this market,” he said.

Not only is the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids area a great place to start a career and grow professionally, he believes, it is also a great place to start a family.

While this year the Intern Club primarily focused on social events with other interns, next year, the club hopes to include more professional-development opportunities.