Bronson welcomes our students with open arms

Joanna Shields, Community Member

In Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), a war-torn eastern European country, the unemployment rate is between 56 and 58%. Even with a college degree, it is very difficult for people to find jobs since there are so few to go around.

At the Jericho Foundation, our goal is to empower the marginalized youth from this nation through education and advocacy. One of the projects our organization works on is a scholarship program, helping to financially aid BiH students through their school system. The goal is to help these students get the education they need to get good jobs and rebuild their country. The scholarship program is different for each student, as we tailor it to fit their needs. One option within the scholarship program includes an internship of a lifetime. Each year, we bring between four and six BiH students to southwest Michigan and place them in an internship program related to their field of study. Although an internship might not sound like much to us here in America, it is truly their golden ticket to a good job in BiH.

This is where Bronson comes into our story.

Over the past few years, we have had a handful of students participate in internships throughout the Bronson system. This year, we have three students at Bronson. Ehvan (pictured left) is interning in the IT department. Doris (pictured middle) is interning as a speech pathologist at Bronson Methodist Hospital. And Elmin (pictured right) is interning as a personal trainer at Bronson Athletic Club.

I could not be more impressed with the experience they are getting at Bronson. They are learning and growing in ways they would never be able to do in BiH. For example, a few years ago we had a young woman interning in Bronson’s radiology department. When she went home, she had hands-on experience that none of her peers had. Here, she was working with technology even her teacher had never seen. It is because of experiences like this that every one of our interns has received employment in BiH within one year of graduation – most of them much sooner than that.

What Bronson is doing for these students is such a gift. They welcome every student with open arms. They truly partner with us. They make sure that our students get as much experience as possible and see how a successful company operates on a day-to-day basis. Managers go out of their way to make sure the students participate in real-life, important projects. Not to mention, the soft skills they learn – like problem solving, time management and teamwork – are invaluable. Most important of all, Bronson makes our students feel like they are part of the team. They are never outsiders. They are able to breakdown stereotypes and learn about other cultures. Bronson’s commitment to inclusiveness is felt by every one of our students.

Thank you, Bronson! Your support, compassion and expertise is helping make the difference for these students. In a small way, you are playing a part in helping to rebuild a country from the ground up.