Mens et Manus America | Paid Summer Internship

Social Impact in Rural America
A Community-Business Partnership for Good Jobs


Detail, from set of interactive maps on the City of Wisconsin Rapids website

Looking for a summer internship opportunity focused on social entrepreneurship, impact investing, and economic development in de-industrialized regions of the U.S.? 

Mens et Manus America (a project of MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences and the MIT Sloan School of Management) along with the Sloan Good Companies Good Jobs Initiative, and the Action Learning office are pleased to announce a summer internship opportunity focused on social impact, economic development and jobs in de-industrialized/rural regions of the U.S.

Participate in a pilot project as a paid summer intern working as part of a 3- or 4-person MIT team. This pilot begins what we hope will become an Action Learning lab focused on social impact in economically isolated regions in the U.S. Working collaboratively with community, business and civic leaders, the student team will help devise place-based approaches to strengthening the quality of jobs in enterprises from start-ups to long-standing companies. Gain experience working with leading Sloan faculty in a nonprofit community-based organization to define and develop high-quality jobs and sustainable employment strategies. 

  • Work at Incourage Community Foundation, an innovative organization that is creating models to ensure sustainable high-quality jobs.

  • Location: Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin

  • 8 weeks mid-June to mid-August

  • Stipend: $3,500+/month, plus airfare and accommodation

  • Work on a team of up to 4 students

  • Up to two days of prep work on campus in May, prior to onsite

  • Deadline: April 21, 2017

  • For more details and to apply:

For further details contact Chris Kelly ( or Barbara Dyer (, or the Action Learning Office (

Company information 

A ground-breaking effort led by Incourage Community Foundation is determined to change the trajectory of rural Central Wisconsin. Incourage, a foundation focused on economic and community development and guided by the vision of a community that works well for all, is a national leader among a network of foundation, business, and civic leaders working to shape the future of rural America.

Incourage is building a 21st century rural economy that values the considerable strengths of the people and the place. Determined not to give-way to a culture of decline, Incourage is working with six manufacturing partner businesses in the region to develop clarity and a shared commitment to quality jobs. These are community anchor institutions, each employing 100-500 employees representing more than 800 front lineworkers. The vision is to become a “community of choice” where:

  • employers have processes, policies, and training in place to attract and retain a competitive and inclusive workforce

  • workers are investing in themselves to obtain the right skills to realize their full potential

  • public and private investors have the knowledge and processes in place to support a

competitive workforce and employers that are committed to job quality 

The nature of the project

Wisconsin Rapids was the smallest city in America to be home to a Fortune 500 company – Consolidated Papers, Inc. (CPI) – until it sold in 2000. Its economy, long dependent on the paper and cranberry industries, has experienced stark declines in income and employment over the past 17 years. Since 2000 median household income has declined 39%. While still the largest regional economic driver, manufacturing has dropped significantly from its peak in the 1990s due to the major effects of globalization. Additionally, five area cranberry growers combine to produce 60% of the world’s fresh cranberry fruit, which contributes to the more than $2.5 billion associated economic activity. 

Like many rural communities across the country that have relied on manufacturing and agriculture, work is changing and even disappearing. The historically paternalistic community, being thrust into greater self-sufficiency, is now more skeptical of government and corporate decision makers as workers struggle with difficult job choices and income insecurity. 

Statement of the problem 

Incourage is seeking a team of students who will work with employer partners to further define job quality. Employer partners have committed to the following job quality metric categories: wages, benefits, wealth building, career building, supportive company culture, environmental responsibility and commitment to their rural community. Students will help Incourage refine the categories and indicators and recommend a data-driven strategy that Incourage can test with employer partners to have more impact. 

Finally, Incourage is currently implementing a 100% mission-aligned, place-based investmentstrategy with its endowment. Students will develop recommendations as to how Incourage can better align its internal investment practices around the set of job quality metrics that will be used with employer partners.

Application requirements 

1. One-paragraph statement of purpose and relevant experience (<250 words)

2. Relevant coursework and/or work experience. Please indicate whether you have taken 15.662:

Managing Sustainable Businesses for People and Profits; 15.768: Management of Services:

Concepts, Design and Delivery, or other courses with similar content. 3. Resume

Include in your statement: your purpose in choosing this internship; coursework related to understanding of job quality, particularly in industries such as manufacturing, service, retail; understanding of social impact start-ups and investment strategies; experience and/or understanding of foundations; full-time commitment to the 8-week project; ability to work across-boundaries and in teams.

Online application

Project logistics 

Travel and housing expenses are paid. Students should be prepared to pay for their own meals and local transportation.

About the Mens et Manus America Initiative at MIT