The Home to Texas program was conceived in 2019 by the IC² Institute and the School of Undergraduate Studies at The University of Texas at Austin to facilitate UT Austin students having positive work experiences in their home towns. Funding pays for the students’ stipends, and we prepare and require the participating students to learn about their home communities with a fresh perspective. An important goal of the program is to help students become aware of career opportunities and lifestyle options in their hometowns, opening the door to a return home after college graduation. Here’s a brief post from the viewpoint of a UT Austin alumna about the potential impact of the program for home communities.
Each fall UT Austin will identify a number of communities for intern placement based on community interest and commitments. Based on the 2019 pilot program, we found that having a critical mass of students in the community greatly increased the Home to Texas impact and the visibility for the community.
For the summer of 2021, the following communities were selected to receive Home to Texas interns.
- Cameron County (Brownsville area)
- Fayette and Bastrop Counties (La Grange and Smithville areas)
- Jefferson and Orange Counties (Beaumont area)
- Hidalgo County (McAllen area)
- Kendall County (Boerne area)
- Maverick County (Eagle Pass area)
- Midland and Ector Counties (Odessa area)
- Potter and Randall Counties (Amarillo area)
- Smith County (Tyler area)
- Taylor and Jones Counties (Abilene area)
- Val Verde County (Del Rio area)
Interested employers from other regions may contact email@example.com to explore the possibility of extension of the program to their towns.
The program encourages contributions from community-based corporations, foundations, and private donors. Donations to the Home to Texas Scholarship Fund should be made online via the following link. In the notes (2nd field on the form), please indicate that you want your donation to go to the Home to Texas Scholarship Fund.
The 2021 internship period will be June 1 to July 30, 2021. Interns devote 40 hours/week to their assigned employer. In addition to employer-assigned duties, interns also gather information on their home communities by conducting interviews and sending reports to IC². Students are encouraged to schedule these interviews during their lunch hours or after business hours but may occasionally ask employers for permission to flex their hours in order to attend a daytime interview.
Participating employers and other interested community leaders and advocates will be invited to an evening event in July in the home community. This will be an opportunity to meet all participating students and discuss the benefits of the program for the community. Dates and venues for summer events will be announced in June.
Once an employer has been matched and introduced to a student intern, the employer should attend to the following:
- Let your student know how their 40 hours should be scheduled. A default schedule would be 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, with an hour off for lunch. If occasional evening or weekend hours are required, you should let the student know before the start of the internship. Our assumption is that most work will be during business hours.
- Prepare to orient the student to the internship through introductions to employees, your organization and its partners, and any software or technology that may be used. Be clear about expectations and deadlines, and have conversations about your communication preferences.
- Ask the intern to identify goals for the experience, consider how these may align with projects, and make sure to check in on these throughout the internship.
- Time off: Students are not allowed to take vacation time during the 9-week internship. Rare exceptions can be granted if both you and the UT program director (Dr. Markman) approve. Regarding sick-leave, we suggest that you observe the same policies that you use for regular employees of your organization. Please communicate to the intern your sick-leave policies (e.g., inform supervisor as soon as possible; when a doctor’s note is required; etc.).
- Tasks must be related to the business of your organization, not to personal needs (e.g., running personal errands) of any of your employees. Please communicate initially and often with interns concerning your expectations for work, deliverables, and task deadlines.
- Clearly state who the intern’s supervisor will be and to whom the intern should express questions and concerns.
- Inform the intern of where she/he should perform duties. Interns should be given a dedicated place to sit to work.
- Please be specific in letting your intern know the appropriate attire for your organization.
- Later in the summer we will send you a survey about your experiences. Our questions will relate both to the accomplishments of your intern and to your own thoughts on the value of the internship.