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Pollution Prevention (P2) Internships: Technical Assistance and Support
Table of Contents
Background and Overview
Getting Started - Scope of the Program
Recruiting Students
Recruiting Internship Clients
Technical Assistance and Support
Internship Tasks
Student Training
Program Costs
Measuring the Impact of the Internships
Where to go for Help
Complete List of Links

To ensure a successful internship project and maintain a good relationship both with student interns and host companies, students need help and support from experienced technical assistance providers. Therefore, partnering with P2 experts that can oversee the work that the interns are doing and assist them is valuable. Although student interns are motivated and well educated, they lack real-world experience, so the involvement of partners, including university graduate students and faculty members, P2 technical assistance providers, retired engineers, or other environmental professionals, is helpful. This mentoring approach is appreciated by the students and the companies that receive technical assistance and professional expertise for the cost of a student intern.

For example, the Minnesota Technical Assistance Program's (MnTAP) P2 Internship Program appoints one person from the host company to act as the intern's daily supervisor and a MnTAP professional staff person to oversee the project and guide its technical aspects. A "project agreement," highlighting the roles and responsibilities for each person involved (i.e., the intern, the company, and MnTAP), is signed at the beginning of the internship.8 The project advisors provide assistance by discussing reduction ideas, offering resource leads, keeping the project on track, and coaching the student intern on how to work well within the company. They also review the intern's progress and sometimes visit the site to ensure that progress is being made.

Student interns participating in Michigan's Retired Engineer Technical Assistance Program's (RETAP) P2 Internship Program receive project support from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality's (DEQ) Environmental Sciences and Services Division (ESSD), participating Michigan colleges and universities, and RETAP. Through this collaborative method, businesses receive free technical assistance to carry out the P2 project, while contributing to the students' education and practical experience. Student interns working under the University of Missouri's Environmental Assistance Center (MOEAC) P2 Internship Program receive project support through direct supervision and guidance from engineering faculty at the University of Missouri (MU).

Grant funds awarded through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 5 Source Reduction Assistance Grant Program enable TechSolve, Inc., Hamilton County Department of Environmental Services (HCDES), and Butler County Department of Environmental Services (BCDES) to collaborate on the Southwest Ohio Pollution Prevention Internship Program. As part of this partnership, TechSolve provides ongoing technical oversight and assistance to the student interns participating in the program. TechSolve engineers conduct a pre-internship visit and onsite tour of the host facility, provide students with pre-internship training, provide overall project guidance, and review the interns' reports and final presentations as needed.9

Last Updated: 12/23/08


8 University of Minnesota Student Intern Program Website:
9 2008 Southwest Ohio Pollution Prevention (P2) Internship Program Handbook: [PDF]


The Topic Hub™ is a product of the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange (P2Rx)

The Pollution Prevention (P2) Internships Topic Hub™ was developed by:

Northeast Waste Management Officials' Association
Northeast Waste Management Officials' Association
Contact email:

Hub Last Updated: 10/8/2013