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Pollution Prevention (P2) Internships: Student Training
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

In most instances, the total length of the internship is 10 to 12 weeks, corresponding with the students' summer break. Some of this time may be used to train students before they are placed with their host client. Every P2 internship program provides at least some form of training, although programs conduct training differently. Some programs provide intensive formal classroom training, while others provide on-the-job training.

For example, the Partners in Pollution Prevention (P3) Internship Program in Nebraska offers a unique two-week classroom training session at the start of all student internships. The advantages to such intensive training include reduced supervision of day-to-day activities at the client's site and potentially greater consistency in the type and quality of P2 recommendations provided by the interns.

Another example is the P2 internship program sponsored by the Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP). MnTAP designates a one-day orientation for student interns. The interns receive informal training by their technical assistance supervisor throughout the program. Because MnTAP intern placements are done with client projects already defined, MnTAP feels that the need for training is reduced because the student's technical skills strongly match the client project needs.

Other internship programs offer different training approaches. For example, the P2 internship programs in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, and Southwest Ohio consist of one-week of formal training followed by 10-11 weeks of the students' working with the client where they obtain hands-on training and experience. The benefit of a one-week training program over a two-week program is that it allows students to spend more time working directly with the company, while participating in the basic P2 training that is necessary to do the job.

In some cases, where college credit is offered to student interns, classroom training is required in order to meet academic requirements. For example, the two-week classroom training required as part of the P3 Internship Program in Nebraska is necessary in order to document the three college credit hours that each intern receives. The students are given a letter grade based on their performance covering homework, assigned projects, and the final report submitted at the end of the internship.15 Students participating in New Hampshire's Pollution Prevention Internship (P2I) program must first take a ten-week training course in the spring. The course is offered at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) and consists of ten two-hour classroom sessions covering a variety of P2 topics. This course does not provide college credits, but is a pre-requisite for the internship.

Students are taught safety, the basic concepts of pollution prevention, different ways that P2 can be applied, and ways to identify these opportunities during the training program. Some programs offer topics related to sustainable production and energy efficiency or provide training on environmental management systems (EMS). Many companies now implement core business practices, such as six-sigma, lean manufacturing, and zero waste programs - and a brief introduction to these techniques can be beneficial to include in the P2 internship training program.

Last Updated: 12/23/08


15 Dvorak, Bruce I., et al. "Nebraska Pollution Prevention Project: Engineering Education through Technical Assistance." Environmental Quality Management. Spring 2003.


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
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Hub Last Updated: 10/8/2013