The PA Chamber Makes it Possible: The Power of Internships


Attracting and retaining the next generation of skilled, inspired workers is key to the PA Chamber’s mission and a major part of the multi-tiered workforce development strategy we’re working to implement across the Commonwealth.

How do we entice up-and-coming generations of talent to choose Pennsylvania as the ideal place to work, live, and STAY? The PA Chamber believes that a big part of this is propelling students into inspiring internships that show them promising career paths; helping them develop the “hard” and “soft” skills that teach them on-site job training and what it means to be a model employee; and assisting them in meeting their academic goals while showing them that there are ample, exciting career opportunities right here in Pennsylvania!

“Through our world-class higher education institutions and diverse industries, Pennsylvania has an opportunity to reverse our brain drain problem and become a magnet for skilled workers and population growth. Offering and promoting internships are a great way to help educate and inspire the next generation of Pennsylvania workers while helping employers fill immediate needs,” PA Chamber President and CEO Luke Bernstein said. “The PA Chamber is leading by example. Two current PA Chamber employees began as PA Chamber interns. Our internship program, like so many others, provides students with experience in a variety of fields, including research, writing, technology, policy, communications, and event management – providing invaluable on-job training that will prepare them for the workforce.”

The benefits of internships – both for employers and for employees – are well documented. Research by Strada, an Education Foundation that collaborates with students, policymakers, and other stakeholders to strengthen the link between education and opportunity, shows that college-level employment rates are higher for those who complete an internship across several fields of study. Strada’s research also shows that students with paid internship experience have increased earning power and confidence for the future.

The PA Chamber encourages businesses of all sizes and industries to offer internships as a way to secure Pennsylvania’s long-term economic competitiveness.

In the spring 2024 semester, we welcomed Mackenzie Unger, a student in her final semester with Lebanon Valley College, as an Administrative Intern. During her time at the Chamber, Mackenzie engaged directly on a number of assignments for PA Chamber President Luke Bernstein and the PA Chamber Board of Directors.

“Mackenzie was an eager, intelligent, and committed intern during the months she spent here, and we were thrilled to have her as a member of our team,” Bernstein said. “Not only did she do a great job executing her assignments, but she was friendly, professional, and had a natural skill you really look for in an employee – a willingness to engage with the people around her. Any employer would be fortunate to have her on board.”

Below is a profile of Mackenzie’s experience with the PA Chamber, insights about her views on the value of internships, and her future career aspirations:

From PA, Staying in PA!

I’m from Lebanon, PA—the place where I’ll most likely enter the workforce and begin my career!

I started college at East Stroudsburg University (and it was online only, due to COVID), but my first year on campus, I realized I was not thriving. I transferred in the spring of 2022 to Lebanon Valley College and have flourished since in both my personal life and academic career. On May 11, I graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration.

Vision Based on Passion

My personal goal in life is to own a gym, as health and fitness are extremely important to me. I was a gymnast for 16 years, and over the past two and a half years especially, whenever I was feeling overwhelmed and lost, the gym felt like an escape—a place where I could focus on my well-being. I now am a huge advocate of the benefits of daily exercise and proper nutrition, and I want that to be the focus of my career.

Owning a gym is about more than building a successful business. It’s about creating a space where people can thrive and become the best versions of themselves – and where I can join my community on that journey toward enhanced health and happiness.

Skills-Based Learning

Interning at the PA Chamber has been incredible. Working in the President’s office as an Administrative Intern gave me firsthand exposure to the inner workings of a major organization and the opportunity to learn hands-on experience in administrative duties. I’ve been involved in a variety of tasks, from assisting with events for the Board of Directors to providing extra assistance to the CEO.

Communication, organization, research—the list goes on of the valuable skill sets I’ve acquired here, which can be applied to my career path. I’ve also seen effective leadership and management firsthand, providing me with insights I can apply to my own future endeavors.

Overall, this experience has been a great benefit – not only in my knowledge set, but opening doors for networking and potential future opportunities. I’m confident that what I’ve learned here will serve me well as I move forward.

Mackenzie’s On-the-Job Insights

Pursuing an internship similar to mine can provide several benefits as students pursue their future goals. This includes:


  • Networking Opportunities: Internships help you build connections with professionals in specific fields of interest that you can apply toward future job opportunities, mentorship, and professional development.


  • Skill Development: Internships can help you develop and refine your research, writing, communication, and project management capabilities – all of which are transferable and applicable to various careers.


  • Real-World Experience: Internships give you an in-depth look into the day-to-day operations of an organization or industry. This practical experience is highly valued by employers and can set you apart from other candidates when applying for jobs after graduation.


  • Personal Growth: Internships often challenge individuals to step outside your comfort zone, take on new responsibilities, and adapt to new environments. This can foster personal growth, confidence, and resilience, all of which are essential for success in any career.


What’s Next?

As a recent college graduate, I’m excited about the future and am looking forward to finding a full-time job and starting my career.

I realize that my long-term goal of opening a gym may not happen right away because it requires careful planning, financial stability, and industry experience, which I hope to gain through my forthcoming job and career endeavors.

However, I am excited about further developing the skills and knowledge needed to manage a gym through positions in relevant fields, including fitness training, business management, and customer service.

My experience with the PA Chamber has allowed me to connect with some incredible people within the fitness industry, who have the insights and opportunities I’m looking for to pursue my passions.