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Operation Intern

Grants to North Dakota Businesses for Student
Apprenticeships and Internships in Targeted Industries

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North Dakota Department of Commerce

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Grants of up to $30,000 to North Dakota businesses to provide apprenticeship and internship positions for students in the following targeted industries: value-added agriculture, advanced manufacturing, energy, technology, and tourism. Priority will be given to startup companies, companies who have never participated in this program, and new apprenticeship and internship positions.

Targeted Industries:

-Energy: Includes establishments operating in the renewable and non-renewable energy sectors as well as energy industry support service companies.

-Advanced Manufacturing: Includes establishments that integrate innovation with technology based processes and systems in the production of products.

-Value-Added Agriculture: Includes establishments that, through the utilization of manufacturing processes and/or systems, transform an agricultural commodity or product from its original state into a more valuable product.

-Tourism: Includes establishments whose operations are capable of attracting visitors from outside of ND for at least one overnight stay, and who offer physical or cultural features, recreation or services, utilized by all types of visitors; must have the ability to attract a visitor 50 miles (one-way) and retain a visitor in the area for at least three hours.

-Technology-Based Business: Includes establishments that rely upon applied science and technology based knowledge, principals and systems to produce goods and services of high value.

Business Requirements:

All internship, work experience and apprenticeship experiences should provide opportunities for the student to develop patterns of professional behavior and skills, apply academic knowledge to work situations and be related to the student’s field of study or career goals. Positions must be related to the student’s program of study to qualify unless they are a high school student.

The employer is responsible for selecting and hiring the student. To qualify for the program, employers must select a student who is:
-Enrolled in a North Dakota college or university taking at least 6 credits during the internship, or the semester prior to the internship,
-A high school junior or senior, or
-Enrolled in a registered apprenticeship program.

Commerce recommends the student be:
-A United States citizen or have permanent legal immigration status,
-In a program of study at least two years in length (if attending college),
-Have an overall GPA (Grade Point Average) of at least 2.5, and
-Working in an experience that corresponds with academic major or career goals.

Commerce may, on a case-by-case basis, approve the subsidization of a student enrolled in a college or university located outside of the state. Reasons for approving an out-of-state student may include the course-of-study not being provided by a North Dakota college or university or a North Dakota high-school graduate that is attending an out-of-state school. Employers interested in hiring an out-of-state student shall contact the Operation Intern coordinator prior to submitting the student application to ensure the student qualifies for the program. These instances will be reviewed on a case by case basis. The majority of a company’s interns cannot be attending an out of state college or university even if they meet the above listed two exclusions.

An employer can select the intern of their choice but they should be aware they might not qualify for the program.

Commerce recommends posting internships on the following websites:
-Job Service North Dakota
-Local colleges and universities career services office

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 182615

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant:

Employers can access $3,000 of matching funds for each student per term.

Employers will be limited to a maximum of 5 interns each funding round.

The maximum amount of Operation Intern funds an employer can receive is $15,000 per funding round or $30,000 per biennium.

Term of Contract:

This biennium will have two funding rounds. The first round of funding will be from May 29, 2017-March 31, 2018. The second funding round will be from May 1, 2018 - June 30, 2019.

Funding begins on the date of the Youth Office/ Operation Intern Coordinator’s signature on the Letter of Agreement. If you do not request funds within 8 months from the signature date, the initial Letter of Agreement will end and your dollars may be obligated to another company.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

The primary focus of the Operation Intern program is private sector businesses in one of the targeted industries: Energy, Advanced Manufacturing, Value-Added Agriculture, Tourism and Technology-Based Businesses.

Funding may also be granted for other high wage/high demand occupations, such as healthcare. High wage/high demand occupations will be determined using Job Service of North Dakota’s listing.

Government entities and charitable nonprofits do not qualify for the program.

Pre-Application Information:

This biennium will have two funding rounds. The first round of funding will be from May 29, 2017 - March 31, 2018. Applications will be accepted from May 1 - May 19, 2017.

Any funds not used in this time frame will be released and added to the funding for the second round. The second funding round will be from May 1, 2018 - June 30, 2019. Applications will be accepted from March 26 - April 13.

Companies may apply for the maximum number of interns each round.

Targeted industries will be eligible for 60% of the funding, high wage/high demand occupations 20%, and new apprenticeship positions the final 20%.

A one-to-one match or more of the compensation to the student is required. Examples of compensation are wages and stipends, tuition and fees, books, housing assistance or tools and equipment.

The one-to-one matching funds are provided after work has been performed and can be requested monthly or at the end of the experience. Documentation of wages paid and/or other compensation provided must be maintained by the employer and made available upon request.

About the Program:

Qualification Requirements:


Student Requirements:

Application Instructions:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply Online:

Jennifer Dahl, Youth Office/ Operation Intern Coordinator

North Dakota Department of Commerce
1600 East Century Avenue, Suite 2
P.O. Box 2057
Bismarck, ND 58502-2057

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: North Dakota