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Governor Cooper Encourages Students Interested in Public Service Internships to Apply for NC COVID-19 Student Response Corps

The following is a press release from the office of Gov. Roy Cooper

North Carolina college students can get valuable work experience with government and nonprofits this summer through the NC COVID-19 Student Response Corps. The program, launched in 2020, provides a database to help match college students in need of work experience with local governments and nonprofits seeking additional help during the pandemic.

Interested students and host organizations can attend a virtual informational session on March 10 or 18 to learn more. Nonprofit and government organizations interested in hosting NC COVID-19 Student Response Corps interns in 2021 can also add their opportunity to the database. For more information on the NC COVID-19 Student Response Corps and the virtual sessions, please visit or contact

“Many local governments and nonprofits could use extra hands on deck as they work to provide services to their communities during the pandemic,” Governor Roy Cooper said. “NC COVID-19 Student Response Corps gives interns meaningful experience and gives organizations extra help during a time of great challenges. We also hope it will lead some students to consider a career in public service.”

Most intern projects are virtual and opportunities include grant writing and research, marketing and communications, community engagement and volunteer coordination, data analysis, strategic planning, and more. The first cohort of interns worked with county economic development departments, local chambers of commerce, nonprofit service providers, arts organizations, and others. 

In 2020, the NC COVID-19 Student Response Corps placed approximately 130 students in internships at more than 100 North Carolina nonprofit and government organizations. 

The NC COVID-19 Student Response Corps highlights how North Carolinians have risen to the challenges of COVID-19 to create opportunities for interns and provide value to their host organizations.

“Through this internship, I was still able to make an impact within North Carolina and learn about new methods of communication and adaptability in the workplace,” explained Caitlyn Newton, who interned with the Beaufort County Economic Development department while a student at NC State University. “I was also able to learn about a new area of local government that I did not have experience with. Not only did I get the chance to add to my skills, but I was [also] able to network in a time where face-to-face meetings are not available.”

The NC COVID-19 Student Response Corps initiative is part of Governor Cooper’s NC Job Ready effort to make sure North Carolinians are prepared for the jobs of today and tomorrow. The program helps strengthen the public service talent pipeline and prepares North Carolina’s students for employment. 

The initiative is led by the NC Office of Strategic Partnerships (OSP), a part of the Office of State Budget and Management, and Lead for North Carolina, a part of the UNC School of Government. OSP facilitates government-university partnerships to support state agencies’ efforts to bolster research capacity, strengthen the state government talent pipeline, and improve government policy and programmatic functions. Also involved are VolunteerNC, Hometown Strong, the NC Association of County Commissioners, the NC League of Municipalities, the NC Rural Center, and colleges and universities from across North Carolina. 

Reaction from past NC Student Response Corps participants

“With the staff of one part time employee and a board consisting mostly of folks with full time jobs- our capacity to get projects done is low so having three interns join our team had an incredible impact and they were able to accomplish a ton!! We were able to tackle projects that we couldn’t even imagine taking on and the interns were able to complete them with little supervision and surpassed our expectations. This was our first experience having an intern and we hope that it will not be our last. Great experience!”

Olivia Dannemiller, Volunteer Coordinator, Friends of Plant Conservation

“This was a fantastic opportunity to gain professional experience and develop new, marketable skills.” 

Andrew Gagliano, past intern, Pittsboro-Siler City Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB). 

“I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with someone who volunteered his time and treated our work as significant, especially during this wildly unusual time when our messaging has shifted and we have become busier … we made it through some rough months with a bright and helpful student.”

Neha M. Shah, Director, Pittsboro-Siler City Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB).

“I really appreciate the partnership. The idea of virtual internships gives Western students a ton of possibilities that previously were not available to them, and we are excited to continue working with this group!”

Theresa Cruz Paul, Director, Center for Career and Professional Development, Western Carolina University

“[Our interns] were able to make contact with survivors that we’ve been having a hard time getting hold of and begin the intake process for the new Methodist list. A research project was completed with a report on the disproportionate impact Hurricanes have on lower income families, elderly, disabled. We had a training on Latinx 101 community and culture. Major Intake documents translated into Spanish.”

Rev. Robbie Phillips, Carteret Long Term Recovery Alliance 


EdNC staff reporting relies on staff, interns, and columnists.