Written by Ariel Kaylor, CNP
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With unpaid internships being a common reality of today, many students are having to choose between gaining valuable work experience and accepting a job that pays. Unfortunately this only creates further social inequity and barriers to essential internships. 

The Nonprofit Leadership Alliance strives to help make these unpaid internships more accessible by offering the Career Development Award. This Award program is designed to eliminate the barrier of an unpaid internship (in-person or virtual) and increase diversity of the nonprofit workforce by providing $2,000 internship stipends for students completing their Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) credential.

The Career Development Award was a crucial point during my college career. 

It was my opportunity to engage and complete an internship that helped launch my next steps post graduation. When my campus director at Maryville College told me about the Career Development award, I jumped at the opportunity to apply! I knew that the scholarship could be a game changer to help close out my senior year and carry me through the summer. I had always dreamed of interning at Habitat for Humanity and thankfully my close mentor helped make it happen! 

When applying for the Career Development Award I honestly did not believe that I had a chance at competing on a national level for a scholarship. I remember sitting in my college dorm room when I got the email saying that I was a scholarship recipient! I immediately called my campus director to thank her and my closest friends to celebrate. This scholarship meant that I would be more financially stable my senior year and that I would be able to complete the internship that I’ve always wanted even though it was unpaid. 

I was the Development Intern for the Blount County, TN Habitat for Humanity and my supervisor was amazing! Habitat for Humanity’s mission is “Seeking to put God’s love into action, Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities and hope” and their vision is “A world where everyone has a decent place to live.” It seems like a pretty attainable and common sense goal, but it is difficult for so many people to reach in their life.

She taught me what furthering development in the nonprofit sector meant on a fundraising, programmatic, and event level. That year I helped increase our fundraising efforts, attended several house warming parties and witnessed the impact that Habitat for Humanity has on individuals and their families. 

The Career Development Award afforded me the opportunity to enjoy my senior year of college, land my dream internship, and experience financial stability even though the internship was unpaid! 

Are you an Alliance student? You might qualify for the Career Development Award! Learn more and fill out your application here: https://bit.ly/CareerDevelopmentAwardNLA