About Operation Intern

Operation Intern, administered by the North Dakota Department of Commerce, is designed to expand the number of new internship, work experience and apprenticeship positions with North Dakota employers.

The program’s primary focus is employers in the state’s targeted industries: Energy, Advanced Manufacturing, Value-added Agriculture, Tourism and Technology-based Businesses. Priority will also be given to new startups, companies who have never participated in the program, and new internship or apprenticeship positions.

The maximum amount of Operation Intern funds an employer can receive is $15,000 per funding round or $30,000 per biennium. Employers will be limited to a maximum of 5 interns each funding round. This biennium will have two funding rounds. The first round of funding will be from May 29, 2017-March 31, 2018. Applications will be accepted from May 1- May 19, 2017. Any funds not used in this time frame will be released and added to the funding for the second round. The second funding round will be from May 1, 2018-June 30, 2019. Applications will be accepted from March 26-April 13, 2018. Companies may apply for the maximum number of interns each round. Targeted industries will be eligible for 60% of the funding, high wage/high demand occupations 20%, and new apprenticeship positions the final 20%.

Program History

Governor John Hoeven and the 2007 Legislature recognized the importance of expanding internship and work experience opportunities, thus appropriated $600,000 to the Department of Commerce for the Operation Intern program.

By spring of 2009, the program matched 211 students with 83 North Dakota businesses.

In the 2009-11 biennium, the Operation Intern program received $900,000 and expanded to high school juniors and seniors and registered apprenticeships. The program was designed to expand the number of new internship, work experience and apprenticeship positions with employers. Employers in the state’s targeted industries could access up to $6,000 of matching funds for each new position created, or up to $5,000 for a federal internship position supporting North Dakota’s targeted industries. At the end of the 09-11 biennium, 21 of the interns were hired on as full-time employees.

In the 2011-13 biennium, Operation Intern has reached 400 students in over 200 companies. Governor Dalrymple and the ND Legislature awarded the Operation Intern program $900,000 of funding. Employers can access up to $6,000 of matching funds for each student. Internships no longer need to be new and the maximum amount of matching funds an employer can receive per biennium (July 1, 2011 – June 30, 2013) is $30,000.

In the 2013-15 biennium, Operation Intern is growing and the main focus is the Governors five targeted industries to recruit interns from North Dakota Schools. The objective of Operation Intern is to involve students in North Dakota business and to encourage them to make a career in North Dakota when their schooling is complete. Governor Dalrymple and the ND Legislature awarded the Operation Intern program $1,500,000 of funding. Employers are awarded $3,000 matching funds on a reimbursement for each internship approved. The max amount a business can receive is $30,000 per biennium (July 1, 2013-June 30,2015).

In the 2015-2017 biennium, Operation Intern will continue as a program to help North Dakota businesses. Governor Dalrymple and the ND Legislature awarded the program $1,500,000 of funding. No other major changes were made to the program except to open it up to healthcare facilities which offer paid internships.

In the 2017-2019 biennium, Operation Intern was awarded $950,000 in funds. Other changes to the program include funding rounds, changes in how out of state students are funded, and who will receive priority. To see the details, please read the updated guidelines.