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Employers have joined forces to launch an initiative to enhance early career and internship experiences, with an eye toward retaining young talent after graduation. This initiative, known as AfterWork, is a win-win for employers, young professionals, and the local economy.

AfterWork is a social and professional development community of summer interns and recent graduates who want to live, work and play in the region.  A wide variety of programming helps interns and young professionals connect to each other, the community and other businesses and organizations.

Thomson Reuters, Bank of Ann Arbor, ITHAKA, Arbor Networks, Arbormoon and Ann Arbor SPARK are founding sponsors of AfterWork, having committed over 60 interns to the program.

Ann Arbor SPARK believes that talent is the key ingredient in the region’s continuing prosperity.

Software developers, data scientists, accountants, scientists and other technical and business talent are in high demand and finding and retaining that talent is critical.

According to Phil Santer, vice president, business development at Ann Arbor SPARK, “Talent is the number one question that comes up when a business is considering relocating or expanding in the Ann Arbor area.”  Tech Trek in June and Tech Homecoming in November are other programs that Ann Arbor SPARK offers that supports talent attraction.

The demand for technical talent will rise as mobility and Internet of Things industries continue to grow in the region.

While many colleges and universities do a great job educating students in these fields, the students are often recruited to leave the region.  This begins as early as Freshman year.  Thus, a program that connects early and often with interns and provides them with connections to the community is critical to talent retention.

Dave Koziol, founder and president of Arbormoon Software, participated in a pilot of the intern summer program last year.  Interns are a key part of his talent strategy, and he often hires his interns for full-time positions after they graduate.  “Providing interns with connections to other interns, and exposure to all of the amazing things that Ann Arbor has to offer is key to getting them to stay in the region.”

Activities already lined up include Gallup Park cleanup, Summer Festival tent, and a Huron River canoe trip and cookout.

To learn more, call 734-747-2936 or email  Amy Cell Talent is managing the program on behalf of the employer partners.


About Ann Arbor SPARK

Ann Arbor SPARK, a non-profit organization, is advancing the region by encouraging and supporting business acceleration, attraction, and retention. The organization identifies and meets the needs of business at every stage, from start-ups to large organizations. Ann Arbor SPARK collaborates with business, academic, government, and community investor partners including the University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University, Washtenaw Community College, Washtenaw County, Livingston County, Washtenaw County / Michigan Works!, the City of Ann Arbor, Bank of Ann Arbor and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. For more information, please call (734) 761-9317 or visit