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theCO finds permanent employee after participating in Launch Tennessee’s Summer Intern Program

By Anna Truss

Editor’s note: Applications are currently open for the Summer Intern Program. Find more information online

College student Maddie Steele came to theCO in summer 2022 as a communications intern. 

She joined a fast-paced team after being placed at the Jackson entrepreneur center through the Launch Tennessee Summer Intern Program, which is designed to give students hands-on experience in Tennessee’s startup ecosystem. 

Through the program, students are placed at a Tennessee-based high-growth startup, venture capital firm, or with one of LaunchTN’s eight regional entrepreneur center partners.

“We’re a small team and there’s always a lot to do,” CEO of theCO Lisa Garner said. “You need people who can look at the to-do list, take action, and get their job done. It’s obviously a major plus when they do it really well and they have a good attitude about it. Maddie is all those things.”

Over the life of the program, Launch Tennessee has placed 320 interns at 92 companies. Forty-six percent of interns end up staying with the company in some capacity. 

Steele thrived so much that she stayed on as an intern after the summer was over. 

“This gave me longevity in a job on my resume and experience for an entire year at a company,” Steele said.

During that year, theCO began to revive the Jackson Downtown Development Corporation. 

Steele helped with communication around the efforts and created a special way to engage the community in the revival.

She developed an activity called the Lavender Trail that promoted businesses for an entire month.

When a full-time Communications Manager position opened up at theCO, Steele applied and ultimately landed the position. 

“TheCO has played a huge role in making my career what it is today and giving me tools I needed to jump into a large scale marketing job,” Steele said.

The LaunchTN Summer Intern Program has allowed theCO to have a full-time summer intern — something they might not have been able to do without the support, Garner said. 

“It’s not something to take for granted — it’s a huge benefit,” she also said. 

And there are other perks of participating in LaunchTN’s Summer Intern Program, Garner said.  

“The other thing I love about it is just having younger people around,” Garner said. “I think it’s great to be able to have people from different age groups represented on the team. There’s just a unique perspective that they provide. I love having an intern.”

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