For Immediate Release

ATHENS, OH — After successfully connecting students with businesses and organizations in Athens and Meigs counties, Rural Action’s Paid High School Internship Program has expanded to offer internship opportunities to students in Belmont, Tuscarawas, Jefferson, Morgan, Perry, and Hocking counties.

A Rural Action high school intern participates in a Passion Works Parade in Place in the summer of 2020.

The expansion, made possible by a grant from the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio, means even more students will be able to learn about careers in their own backyard while earning a stipend in the process. Since its inception in 2019, the program has paid students a total of $41,600 while building bridges between the area’s youth and businesses.

Through the program, students are placed with local businesses who act as host sites, teaching the students about the many aspects of running and operating a business and mentoring students according to their interests.

The goal is three-fold: to help students network within the community to bolster their career efforts, to provide a non-traditional way for businesses to recruit and retain local talent, and to expose students to career options that lead to high-paying jobs right here in Appalachian Ohio.

The program’s expansion wouldn’t be possible without key educational partners, including ProjectRISE from the Athens Meigs Educational Service Center (ESC), the Education Workforce Collaborative from East Central Ohio ESC and Ohio Valley ESC, and the Muskingum Valley ESC.

As evidenced by the latest state budget proposal, spending on workforce development continues to be a top priority in Ohio. Rural Action, Building Bridges to Careers, and our regional partners believe successful workforce development requires community involvement in K-12 education — especially in Southeast Ohio.

The results of these efforts are reflected in the following statistics from 2019 to date:

Rural Action is a regional community development organization with a 32-county footprint working with members and community leaders on a range of quality of life, environmental, and economic projects across rural Appalachian Ohio. Its mission is to build a more just economy by developing the region’s assets in environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable ways. Learn more about Rural Action at

Building Bridges to Careers is an organization that fosters community relationships to inspire student career choice. Recently, BB2C was awarded a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help build regional capacity for community and career connected learning. Learn more about BB2C at


Joe Brehm (Rural Action)
Environmental Education Director


Allison Ricket (Building Bridges to Careers)

A Rural Action high school intern works on a project for the Nelsonville Emporium.