University of Northern Iowa

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CIPCO Internship Program

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The purpose of these internships is to augment the academic programs of entrepreneurial students with experiential learning opportunities. This program provides internships with small businesses, new ventures, economic development corporations, or other worthy programs (preference will be given to businesses located in the R.J. McElroy Student business Incubator, Innovation Incubator and UNI SBDC clients to assist them in their business growth).

These internships provide a cost-sharing opportunity for the employing company. This is done through the generous support of Central Iowa Power Cooperative. CIPCO provides funds to offset the cost of the internship to the business owner as detailed below. This financial incentive is especially important for new ventures and rural communities, both of which may have limited financial resources for the engagement of an intern. These internships are limited to Iowa-based companies, with a special emphasis toward companies in the CIPCO service territory.


“CIPCO is an active participant in the economic development of all its service areas. We hope to see this effort expand and other companies offer support in an effort to spur economic development and help keep young entrepreneurs in Iowa after graduation.”

—Dennis Murdock, CIPCO Executive Vice President/CEO, Retired

The Experience

The companies will be required to provide a substantial learning experience for the intern. The work is to be semi-professional to professional in nature, preferably in the student’s area of expertise. Examples of substantial work experiences might include: development of a business plan, marketing plan, website, etc.; organization of a large event; research and development assistance of a new product; assistance with the company’s accounting, recordkeeping, etc.; assistance with a technical operation for the company; assistance in industrial technology, engineering, chemistry, biology, physics, mathematics, etc.; and any other substantial learning experience. Internships should not include excessive supporting tasks such as photocopying, filing, lawn mowing, cleaning, food service, errand-running, etc.

The Benefits

Some of the benefits to the businesses are:

  • Cost effective staffing option
  • Students fulfill a role not being covered or pursued by the company
  • Connection to technical expertise through UNI
  • Potential to remain connected to the student

Some of the benefits to the students are:

  • Career-building with real world experience
  • Connection to the company work culture and economic development network
  • Exposure and connection to future employers
  • Option for course credit

Some of the benefits to CIPCO and the State of Iowa are:

  • Most students with intern experience in Iowa remain in Iowa after graduation
  • Students with internships have more success obtaining professional employment
  • Internships typically result in better salaries for students as they enter their profession
  • Many interns return to work for their internship companies.

The Internship Options:

There are two options for students seeking internships through the CIPCO program. Preference is given to undergraduate students for internship opportunities.

Academic Credit Option – This option is only available for students who meet their major's department internship requirement. Interns receive $750 scholarships for their work. Business owner is strongly encouraged to match the $750 stipend.

Student Requirements:

  • Fulfill internship requirement established by their area of study
  • Maintain student-status throughout the duration of the internship
  • Schedule time to meet with assigned JPEC team member for orientation to JPEC and the CIPCO program before internship begins
  • Report to assigned JPEC team member every two weeks via email and once per month in person to determine that the maximum benefit for both student and business is being achieved
  • Complete exit interview with assigned JPEC team member within two weeks of internship completion
  • Write a thank you note to CIPCO detailing the benefit and impact of the internship and deliver to assigned JPEC team member

** It is strongly encouraged that the student actively engage in services and programs of the JPEC to gain the maximum benefit of the CIPCO internship

** If the business selects the academic option, and the student is not enrolled full-time, there will be a tuition charge.

**It is important for the student to discuss with a financial aid officer how the stipend received could possibly affect a financial aid package.

**Additional coursework requirements will be detailed in the memo of understanding for the internship.

Employer / Employee Option – Interns are hired as employees of the business and the CIPCO program reimburses the company for half of the net wages paid based upon these business requirements.

Business Requirements:

Office cannot be an in-home location
Completion of the Employer Application and submission before the deadline for the semester in which the business is applying for an intern. The application deadline dates are as follows:

August 1 – Fall Internship
December 1 – Spring Internship
April 1 – Summer Internship



Central Iowa Power Cooperative (CIPCO) is a generation and transmission electric cooperative with member systems that serve a population of nearly 300,000 rural and urban residents and more than 13,000 small and large commercial and industrial accounts across Iowa.

Member-owner status is given to the 13 rural electric cooperatives and associations, each represented on the CIPCO Board of Directors by an elected director from their local board. The CIPCO Board is a governing body that selects the Chief Executive Officer who is responsible for day-to-day operations. CIPCO supplies all power requirements for its Member-owners, and as their power provider, is dedicated to delivering 24/7 energy that is affordable, safe, and reliable. CIPCO works with communities and organizations within their member service territory to promote economic development, education, electrical safety, community involvement, and marketing programs. For more information about CIPCO, visit its website at

Thanks go to Central Iowa Power Cooperative and Executive Vice President and CEO Bill Cherier for the continued support of this initiative that was established by former CEO Dennis Murdock.

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