Malama Kauai offers paid agriculture internships

KILAUEA — Malama Kauai is offering 25 paid agriculture internships for exploring careers in farming this summer through two organizations, AmeriCorps and Alu Like, and they’re only open to Kauai residents.

Interns through AmeriCorps must be over 18 years old and work for eight weeks, which culminates with an end-of-service educational award of $1,222 for college.

Interns through Alu Like must be between 14 and 24 years of age and be income eligible. They will work for six weeks in the program.

Both programs begin June 6 and internship sites include local nonprofits IWIKUA/KUGA Agriculture in Waimea, Malama Kauai Community Farm in Kalihiwai, and Waipa Foundation in Hanalei.

“A lot of our young farm labor and interns currently come from off-island, and the majority leave when they’ve completed their training,” said Megan Fox, director of operations for Malama Kauai, and manager of the Kauai Ag Internship Program. “This is creating a real ‘brain drain’ when it comes to local ag and building our pipeline of future farmers.”

She said the purpose behind offering these kinds of internships is to infuse the knowledge and love of agriculture into the next generation of the island’s leaders.

“We really want to create rewarding, hands-on career development opportunities for those who are interested in careers in agriculture, so we can start to localize our ag workforce and increase our own food production,” Fox said.

According to the 2014 Kauai Youth Report, just under 25 percent of Kauai’s teenagers, from ages 16 to 19, are employed and Fox explained the internships are also a chance to bank some cash.

In addition to putting their hands in the dirt, interns will hear from guest speakers, take field trips and will gain natural resource experience, Fox said.

Deadline to apply for the AmeriCorps internship is May 25 and Fox said there isn’t a deadline to submit applications for the Alu Like internship.

Info: www.malamakauai.org or call Megan Fox at (808) 828-0685 x12.

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