General FAQ

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The Emerging Leaders Internship (ELI) Program is designed to connect talented Oregon college students from rural communities with paid, leadership-track internships in those areas, assisting in retaining local talent. Our company partners agree to work toward hiring a qualified Emerging Leader as an intern at their organization for the summer. ELI recruits and supports participants and facilitates the selection process and community-building and learning opportunities during the summer internship. Through this strategic partnership, ELI and our partner companies are committed to strengthening and developing diverse leadership for our region and retaining local talent in their communities.

  • Leadership-track internships with meaningful, project-based work suited to college students/recent grads
  • Paid (minimum $18/hour for 2023) by the host company
  • Full time, at 30–40 hours per week
  • 10–12 weeks in summer, typically running June–August


Host company provides mentorship by an individual who will meet with intern regularly to provide guidance over the course of the internship. Intern participates in ELI programming over the summer, including attending professional development events and submitting reporting.

ELI candidates are:

  • Current college student or recent graduate
  • From or studying/living in Oregon or southwest Washington
  • Low income college students from rural communities (Pell Grant eligible) 
  • Committed to investing in their growth by participating in ELI professional development and community-building opportunities

ELI Company Partners are:


  • Agree to host an internship that meets the ELI program requirements
  • Represent various industries, sizes, years of experience, and company cultures
  • Organizations across the greater Portland area (including Vancouver) to Organizations from rural communities in Southern Oregon
  • Committed to developing diverse leadership for our region, hiring local talent, and continually working toward becoming more equitable and inclusive workplaces

At this time, the Emerging Leaders Internship program is in summer only.

ELI internships fall within the job groupings in terms of role: 


  • Marketing & Communications 
  • Tech 
  • Business & Entrepreneurship 
  • Operations & Projects 
  • People & Engagement


Click here to see the full list of Job Groupings and subcategories. ELI companies choose the most appropriate job grouping and subcategory for their internship position, and intern candidates select the groupings they are seeking positions within/that best align with their field and career interests. 

Phase 1: Recruitment: Fall/Winter

  • Organizations across greater Portland sign up to participate as an ELI Company Partner to host an intern in the summer by signing the digital Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and submitting the program fee.
  • The Emerging Leaders team recruits low income youth from rural communities and Pell Grant eligible students in Oregon and southwest Washington in the fall and winter.
  • Our intern application is open from November to mid-January, and includes self-reported skills, personal short essays, and a professional resume.

Phase 2: Screening: Winter

  • Once committed to participation in our program, ELI Company Partners provide us with an internship position profile (job description), including skills needed, preferred experience, internship hours/duration/time frame, and all related information for the intern position.
  • After a first screening, we invite qualified applicants to our annual Mock Interview event held in late February/early March. At this required event, intern candidates experience a group-style behavioral interview.

Phase 3: Matching: Spring

  • The ELI team takes the evaluations from this interview into account alongside the student’s other application materials and begins our matching process. Using the information our company partners provide us about their internship positions and needs, we find the best-suited candidates and supply 3 finalists to the company for each posted position.
  • In the month of April, the company arranges finalist interviews with these candidates and makes offers to or declines the applicants they do not accept. Host companies make the decision on who to hire as their Emerging Leader intern by May 1 and determine a start date, usually in June.

Phase 4: Internship Cohort: Summer

  • In May, ELI holds a company orientation, and in June, an intern orientation providing pre-internship coaching from ELI on what it takes to be a successful intern. Internships take place in summer with periodic ELI events to train, get feedback, provide support, and inspire.
  • Interns participate in a series of Professional Development (PD) workshops from June to August to expose them to leadership training and opportunities to network with professionals. Company partners also have the opportunity to convene to build community, learn, and share knowledge.

ELI is one of the initiatives of the Oregon nonprofit The Contingent (formerly Portland Leadership Foundation). We’ve been active in scholarships for underrepresented students for more than 10 years and have a focus on empowering the underserved through all our work. Our vision is to see a transformed and strengthened community through the development of multicultural leaders.


The Oregon Pell Grant is used for attending college. You can use this grant at any college in Oregon as long as the participate in the Federal Student Aid Program if your school has a 6 digit federal school code. You will be able to know if you are eligible for the Oregon Pell Grant by your EFC. If your EFC is lower than 3850, then you are eligible.


Below (as of 11.17.22 on this site) is the list of schools that participate in the Oregon Pell Grant Program. 


A’Art College of Beauty
Academy of Hair Design
Apollo College
Art Institute of Portland (The)
Artistic School of Hair Design
Astoria Beauty College
Beau Monde College of Hair Design
Birthingway College of Midwifery
Blue Mountain Community College
Central Oregon Community College
Chemeketa Community College
Clackamas Community College
Clatsop Community College
College of Cosmetology
College of Hair Design Careers
College of Legal Arts
Columbia College of Business
Concorde Career Institute
Concordia University
Eastern Oregon University
East-West College of The Healing Arts
Eugene Bible College
George Fox University
Heald College
International Institute of Transporation Resources
ITT Technical Institute
Klamath Community College
Lane Community College
Lewis & Clark College
Linfield College
Linfield College
Linn-Benton Community College
Magee Brothers Beaverton School of Beauty
Marylhurst University
Mount Angel Seminary
Mount Hood Community College
Multnomah Bible College/Seminary
National College of Naturopathic Medicine
Northwest Christian College
Northwest College of Hair Design
Northwest Nannies Institute
Oklahoma Christian University
Oregon City Beauty School
Oregon College of Art & Craft
Oregon College of Beauty & Barbering
Oregon College of Oriental Medicine
Oregon Graduate Institute of Science & Technology
Oregon Health & Science University
Oregon Health & Science University
Oregon Institute of Technology
Oregon State University
Pacific Northwest College of Art
Pacific University
Phagans’ Beauty College
Phagans’ Central Oregon Beauty College
Phagans’ Gateway College of Beauty
Phagans’ Grants Pass College of Beauty
Phagans’ Medford Beauty School
Phagans’ Newport Academy of Cosmetology Careers
Phagans’ School of Beauty
Phagans’ School of Hair Design
Phagans’ School of Hair Design
Phagans’ Tigard Beauty School
Pioneer Pacific College
Pioneer Pacific College
Portland Community College
Portland State University
Reed College
Rogue Community College
Roseburg Beauty College
Southern Oregon University
Southwestern Oregon Community College
Springfield College of Beauty
Tara Lara Academy of K-9 Hair Design
Treasure Valley Community College
Tualatin College of Beauty
Umpqua Community College
University of Oregon
University of Portland
Valley Medical College
Warner Pacific College
West Coast Training
Western Baptist College
Western Business College
Western Culinary Institute
Western Evangelical Seminary
Western Oregon University
Western Seminary
Western States Chiropractic College
Willamette University