Frequently Asked Questions

What is Operation Intern?

Operation Intern, administered by the North Dakota Department of Commerce, is designed to expand the number of 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.

North Dakota businesses looking for interns can receive up to $3,000 in matching funds by tapping an underused pool of candidates: students. The program offers private businesses up to $30,000 every two years (July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2017) to fund internships in their company.

Does my company qualify for Operation Intern?

That is a very complex question. The program’s primary focus is employers in the state’s targeted industries: Energy, Advanced Manufacturing, Value-added Agriculture, Tourism and Technology-based Businesses.

To determine if your company falls under one of these industries, we encourage you to complete the Employer Application and be as thorough as possible when filling out the form.

If you believe your company does not fall under one of these targeted industries, it does not mean you cannot get funding. Operation Intern has set aside some funds for non-targeted industries; however we look for these positions to be in high-demand, high-wage, or advanced skills careers.

Currently Operation Intern does not fund local or state internships, or internships in the non-profit sector; however, some exceptions are being accepted.

What if I wanted to hire a student from a school outside of North Dakota?

Operation Intern requires that the students must be from a North Dakota school.

There are a few exceptions that need to be approved by the Youth Office/ Operation Intern Coordinator before hiring a student outside North Dakota borders.

If a student is from a bordering school the business must maintain a record and be able to prove that:

  • The student was the only applicant;
  • The students skills, education, and knowledge made that student the best candidate for the position; or
  • The position is/was hard to fill.

The company must maintain record of this process in case they are audited. 20% of participating businesses are reviewed annually for fiscal and student verification. If a business is selected, documentation of expenses and verification of student enrollment must be provided.

What if I don’t use up all of my funds?

If you don’t use up all of your funds with the initial interns, you can backfill new interns in to those positions. You can also notify the Youth Office/ Operation Intern Coordinator that you do not plan to use the funding and they can be issued to another company. All Letters of Agreement end June 30, 2017.

Does a student qualify if he/she graduated in May and wants to intern in the summer?

Yes, if a student graduated in May and wants to intern throughout the summer, he/she does qualify for Operation Intern. However if he/she graduated in May and wanted to intern during the fall semester, he/she no longer qualifies for Operation Intern funding.

What If we hire the student full time upon graduation?

Please notify the Youth Office/ Operation Intern Coordinator upon the acceptance of the position. Operation Intern tracks success stories and uses these as a resource for the legislature.

How often do I need to submit a “Request for Funds”?

You can submit Request for Funds monthly, quarterly, or once. Most companies will wait to request funds until they have used up all of their funds so they only need to do it once. Other companies will submit on a monthly basis.

Do I need to submit a Learning Agreement to the Operation Intern program manager?

No, you do not need to submit a copy to the program administrator. This Learning Agreement is not required, only encouraged for internships that are not being used for academic credit.

What if I am accepted to the program and do not hire any interns?

Eight months from the date of the initial Letter of Agreement, the Operation Intern program administrator may contact you regarding closing your account and reverting the money to another company. Upon discussion with the program administrator, if you intend to spend the money in the near future, that can be discussed. If you know before the eight month mark that you are not going to use the funds, feel free to contact the program administrator directly to close the account.

Where can I post my internship opening?

We encourage you to post your internship opening on,, your company website, and your local college or universities career services website. If you’d like to post the opening on the website, that is an option as well.