About Rural Works

The Rural Works! internship program provides dedicated students with an opportunity to engage with and gain work experience within rural counties across North Carolina. These internships allow students to gain real workplace experience — responsibility, deadlines, salary, etc. — while connecting local businesses to eager interns with the potential to help their business thrive.

This program not only benefits the interns and employers but also the towns and counties that they reside in by bringing young talent and economic engagement to these counties that have faced challenges in these areas.

NC State intends to build unique relationships with these rural counties in an effort to give these communities and NC State students opportunities.

Employers gain the opportunity to work with talented students with new and fresh ideas to the benefit of their business and also gain exposure among the NC State community.

Students have the opportunity to not only gain valuable and relevant work experience with a full-time paid internship but also are exposed to the rich history and culture of these various rural communities.

This internship program is open to undergraduate and graduate students from a variety of majors, backgrounds, and skill sets. Internships include opportunities to work with private, public, and nonprofit employers in rural counties.

Benefits to Students

  • A rich array of studies clearly documents the benefits of internships to students, including improved academic performance and increases in both the volume and quality of job offers following graduation. A recent study by N.A.C.E. (National Association of Colleges and Employers) found that, when reviewing a college graduate’s resume, employers rate completion of an internship as the most influential element, ahead of college major, leadership positions held or general work experience.
  • Internships provide excellent opportunities for students to apply classroom skills in the field, learn workplace skills, and identify preferred work settings. Having the chance to work for employers in rural settings will enable students to consider a wider range of job opportunities and work settings following graduation.

Benefits to Employers

  • This program helps students develop the technical and workplace skills that employers favor. It also gives employers both immediate assistance with some projects and provides them a good “first look” at potential future employees at a relatively low cost.

Benefits to Communities

  • Many rural communities in North Carolina (and across the U.S.) report a “brain drain,” as talented young people leave to attend college and choose not to return. NC State’s Rural Works! summer program seeks to combat this issue by matching interest and opportunity, as some students return to their home counties for rewarding summer opportunities and others explore new towns and opportunities.