Emily Toland recently completed an internship with the Albert Lea EDA. This is what she had to say about the experience.
I have had a wonderful internship experience this summer at ALEDA. Over the last three months, I learned so much about the world of economic development. When I started in May, my first project was to create an updated spreadsheet with employee counts from businesses in Albert Lea. I spoke with business owners, managers, and HR departments to record the most recent full time, part time, and seasonal employee counts. It helped me learn about the companies, both big and small, and what they do for the community. Next, I started to work through file cabinets where I made digital copies of the contents in the folders. Archiving these documents will make searching for an item more efficient because the files will be organized by building/property, type of document, names of individuals, and other keywords.
Another project I worked on involved taking photos of an office building for sale downtown and creating a five-page marketing piece to highlight the features of the building to have on hand when it goes up for sale. I also put together a flyer for new apartments that will be completed soon. The flyer was sent out to community members to give an overview of the complex and inform them of the leases that are currently available. After that, I researched commercial properties and land for sale in Albert Lea and used Publisher to make a brochure template that included information and photos of each property. Having this document will make it easy to see all the available properties at a glance and distribute to interested businesses.
The main project for the summer was to create an updated RFP template for ALEDA to use for marketing purposes. The template includes a “welcome to Albert Lea” page, an overview of ALEDA, updated demographic information, a general site map showing where each of our sites are located, and two pages for each site. The site-specific pages have an aerial view of the land with the lot lines and acres clearly outlined, which I verified on Beacon. Since the satellite images on Beacon were not ideal, I took new images from Google Earth and Google Maps that were clearer and greener. From there I used Photoshop to combine the better land photos with the lot lines I had traced on Beacon to create a more visually appealing site map. The second page for each site had a site profile, which includes utilities, water, natural gas, and telecommunications. This new template can easily be modified to add or remove pages as needed.
Throughout the summer I have assisted in a variety of research projects, such as researching New Market Tax Credits and groups who work in Minnesota. I also looked into pieces of land for sale in a rapidly developing part of town and used Beacon to find out who owned the land. From sitting in on board meetings to visiting sites, creating marketing pieces, and assisting in research, I have learned a lot and was able to explore a potential career in economic development. I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to intern at ALEDA this summer, and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here. This internship has helped me grow in many ways, and my experiences working in economic development have positively impacted my future career path.