Regional Economic Development and Business Leaders Celebrate Successful Summer STEM, Post-Secondary Internship Program Pilot

During the program’s pilot year in Summer 2021, the LIFT Network distributed more than $70,000 in funding to subsidize 34 internships that supported over 20 manufacturing and advanced industry companies in the South Bend – Elkhart region.

SOUTH BEND – ELKHART, Ind. (Oct. 28. 2021) — In conjunction with the Labs for Industry Futures and Transformation (LIFT) Network, the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership has announced the conclusion of a successful pilot year of the LIFT Network Internship Program.

By providing regional companies with tailored applicant lists of students sourced from regional colleges and universities, or returning home for summer, the LIFT Network Internship Program helped STEM and business undergraduate and graduate students find internships with regional firms – providing roles focused on the following occupational fields: manufacturing, technology, engineering, data science and analytics, software development, supply chain/logistics management, information technology, and research and development.

“One of the biggest challenges facing advanced industry employers in our regional economy is finding and retaining great talent to drive innovation within their firms,” shared South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership Director of Education and Workforce, Leighton Johnson. “Serving a region that contains more than nine colleges/universities and over 40,000 students, this internship program catalyzes professional relationships between regional STEM and business students and companies eager to retain them as full-time employees within the region.”

Administered by South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership, the LIFT Network Internship Program distributed more than $70,000 to subsidize 34 internships for employers in Elkhart, Marshall, and St. Joseph Counties during Summer 2021. Program partners included the University of Notre Dame’s Center for Civic Innovation, enFocus, IT Sector Partnership, Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce, Plymouth Chamber of Commerce, and the South Bend Regional Chamber.

Participating companies in Summer 2021 included 1st Source Bank, Abonmarche, AM General, Ameri-Can Engineering, American Technology Components, Aunalytics, Beacon Health System, BMI Audit Services, Conn-Selmer, CTS Corp, ITAMCO, Kem Krest, Lawson-Fisher Associates, The Lebermuth Company, Lippert Components, MackTool & Engineering, Norco Industries, Robert Weed Corp, Sibley Machine, SPI Industries, and Universal Bearings.

“The program was a great aid to employers in subsidizing wages and it allowed us to pay a little higher rate than we normally would,” shared ITAMCO Training and Organizational Development Manager, Matt Davis. “It was a great opportunity to attract and retain talent in our region as we intend to hire both of our interns when they complete college.”

The average intern worked 405 hours at $16.00/hour and earned over $6,000. Interns also attended social, professional development, and networking events hosted by regional chambers of commerce—events that brought LIFT Network Interns to regional venues, events, and resources such as the Plymouth Motor Speedway, the Elkhart Jazz Fest, The History Museum and Studebaker National Museum, Four Winds Field, the Michiana Lean Network, and the Wild Rose Moon Production House.

Student recruitment for Summer 2022 has already begun. South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership will conduct virtual employer information sessions to help interested employers learn more about the forthcoming application cycle. For more information and to register for the November 5th session, click here or the November 11th, click here.

To access the Summer 2022 Employer Application, please visit the program homepage or email Leighton Johnson at to learn more.


About Labs for Industry Futures and Transformation (LIFT) Network
The Labs for Industry Futures and Transformation (LIFT) Network was established to formalize the collaborative opportunities among the South Bend – Elkhart region’s innovation, R&D, workforce training, and educational assets to provide a comprehensive portfolio of cutting-edge resources to support advancement in the region’s key industrial sectors. Collectively these efforts will support the South Bend – Elkhart region through the transformation to an increasingly digital and automated future, enhancing the current manufacturing base with new business models, technologies and tailored workforce training programs while accelerating new high-tech sector growth in the region. For more information about the LIFT Network, visit

LIFT Network and the associated iNDustry Labs at Notre Dame were catalyzed by a $42.4 million grant awarded to the University of Notre Dame in 2019 from Lilly Endowment Inc. The grant supports Notre Dame’s partnership with the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership in establishing and advancing the LIFT Network.

About South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership
The South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership is a collaboration of the economic development partners from 47 smart connected communities in northern Indiana and southwest Michigan. The Regional Partnership focuses on a long-term systemic approach to advance the region’s economy by aligning the efforts of various stakeholders around five key areas: Educating a world-class WORKFORCE, Recruiting and retaining great TALENT, Attracting and growing new economy companies in complement to our remarkably strong manufacturing INDUSTRIES, Promoting INCLUSION and sparking opportunities for minorities and Helping ENTREPRENEURS thrive. The Regional Partnership seeks to unify and collaborate so that together, the communities across the region to work together to achieve what cannot be done individually. For more information about the Regional Partnership, visit

Media Contacts
Leighton Johnson
South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership