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A win-win for companies and students through the IGNITE! program

July 13, 2020

The Northern Illinois University College of Business and DeKalb County Economic Development Corporation (DCEDC) are currently accepting proposals for IGNITE!, a joint program for organizations to connect with and employ NIU Business students on a part-time basis. NIU Business Senior Director Amy Buhrow and NIU Business ELC Director Jason Gorman described this program and other opportunities for companies during a radio interview with 94.9 WDKB

How it works: IGNITE! provides the structure and funding for student employment with DCEDC member companies, northern Illinois start-ups and non-profits. Students are paid $10 per hour. Of that, the NIU College of Business subsidizes $9.25 per hour and employers cover the remaining $0.75 per hour.

Criteria for proposals, including deadline: Successful proposals will define part-time positions that are no greater than 20 hours per week. Initial employment should begin at the start of the fall 2020 semester with the possibility of extending to the spring 2021 semester. Positions must include clear goals, defined professional responsibilities, projects and developmental opportunities, and general expectations. Proposals must also describe the work environment and safety precautions for preventing COVID-19 exposure. Proposals should be submitted online at by July 15, 2020.

What happens next?: After the deadline, a committee will choose five proposals from DCEDC members companies, local start-ups for funding. Those organizations that are selected will assist in promoting their opportunity to students virtually through information sessions and the NIU job board in August 2020. They will also be responsible for interviewing, hiring, on-boarding, training and managing the student. The initial period of employment is August 24, 2020 – December 15, 2020. Students will be paid $10 per hour. Of that, the NIU College of Business will subsidize $9.25 per hour with employers covering the remaining $0.75 per hour.

The NIU Business student talent pool: Collectively, more than 2,000 NIU Business undergraduate  students study accountancybusiness administration,  financemanagementmarketing, and operations management and information systems. Over seventy-five percent of NIU Business students live in DeKalb County during the school year and nearly sixty percent work anywhere from one to 40 hours a week. Many are eager to find part-time jobs that will contribute significantly to their professional growth.

Past partnering organizations: Past IGNITE! partners include Kishwaukee College, LiteracyPlanet, The Egyptian Theatre, Production Cutting Services, The Illinois Business Innovation Association, OC Creative, DeKalb Park District, Auto Meter, Nenni and Associates and the DeKalb County Economic Development Corporation.