Future Leaders Project

The Future Leaders Project is an initiative of Workforce Southwest Washington, Columbia River Economic Development Council and WSU Vancouver that seeks to connect students from communities who have experienced longstanding inequities and exclusion and first-generation college students with employer-sponsored summer internships, providing growth and professional development opportunities.

Selected students will benefit from:

  • A $3,600 stipend OR $18/hour paid summer internship
  • At least 200 hours of work experience (approximately 20 hours/week during the summer months)
  • Additional mentorship, networking and professional development opportunities

2024 Employer Host Sites:

  • Association of Science Communicators
  • Building Futures Foundation
  • Clark County Food Bank
  • Columbia River Economic Development Council
  • C-TRAN
  • Edge Networks
  • Enterprise Mobility
  • Fourth Plain Forward
  • Greater Portland Inc.
  • Greater Vancouver Chamber
  • Hello Life Eating Disorder Recovery Services
  • Johnson Bixby
  • Matrix Roof & Home
  • Nut-Tritious Foods
  • Partners in Careers
  • PointNorth Consulting Inc.
  • Port of Vancouver
  • Southwest Washington Contractors Association
  • TwinStar Credit Union
  • Vancouver Farmer’s Market

Businesses are looking for interns interested in communication, finance, human resources, marketing, and more.

Eligibility requirements

The Future Leaders Project seeks talented WSU Vancouver students from communities that have experienced longstanding inequities and exclusion, and first-generation college students who want to gain professional experience, expand their professional network and bring a more diverse perspective to the local business community.

Ideal candidates must meet the following requirements:

  • Must be a US citizen, legal permanent resident, or DACA.
  • Must be a member of a community that has experienced longstanding inequities and exclusion, and/or a first-generation college student.
  • Must be of junior or senior standing and enrolled at WSU Vancouver at the start of fall 2024 semester
  • Must be available to complete a 200-hour internship between June – August 2024
  • Must commit to participating in leadership and professional development opportunities offered through the Future Leaders Project

Application checklist

The following items must be submitted by end of day Sunday, March 24 in order to be considered.

  • Completed application
  • Cover letter
  • Resume

Your resume and cover letter may be submitted electronically through the application form or via email to van.career@wsu.edu.

If you need help completing these items, visit the Career Action Center website or call 360-546-9155 to speak to a career counselor.


Future Leaders Project Application


  • January - Application opens
  • March 24 - Application deadline
  • April – May - Application review and interviews with the FLP Team and employer host sites
  • May - Hiring decisions announced by Employer Host Sites
  • June - Internships begin, timelines will vary slightly based on the employer host site
  • August - Internships conclude, timelines will vary slightly based on the employer host site
  • September - Future Leaders Project End of Summer Celebration


Please direct any questions about the program or application process to van.career@wsu.edu.

This is what former Future Leader’s Project interns had to say.

Mandipa Masike

"The Future Leader’s program allowed space for me to grow as an individual and work in a team successfully. I felt as though the program was designed to be supportive and for me to get to know local businesses in Vancouver, Washington. I worked with Workforce Southwest Washington Workforce. My overall experience was very positive and impactful in making me feel confident with local businesses in Vancouver. WSW was my first experience where I felt like the employer considered me as a human first and wanted me to grow and develop. WSW gave me the initiative to grow and take on a project with support from the company. it was an empowering opportunity where I made lifelong connections with local businesses and learning new skills that I can apply throughout my career."

Mandipa Masike
Future Leaders Project Intern 2021/22
Workforce Southwest Washington

Thao Vu

"I was interested in participating with a local organization to gain practical experience and at the same time be able to utilize my knowledge from school to help the community thrive. My internship with Columbia Bank was one of the greatest experiences any student could ask for. The best part of it was the people. They were very nice and willing to help anytime I needed within their busy schedule. The type of work was relevant to my current level and interesting to learn. I highly encourage anyone who is qualified to apply for the program. As WSU students, we are very fortunate to have these opportunities to be exposed to the real world and contribute our time to the community. You will certainly gain many great skills going through the process to equip yourself for the future and greater opportunities."

Thao Vu
Future Leaders Project Intern 2021/22
Columbia Bank

Isabella Becerra

“The Future Leader’s Project offers a fantastic opportunity to gain skills and be paid at the same time. It's a fantastic opportunity to network and understand the businesses that exist in our communities along with what they expect out of future employees.”

Isabella “Bella” Becerra
Future Leaders Project Intern 2020/21
Workforce Southwest Washington

Eli Cortes

“I applied to the Future Leaders Project in the hopes of developing myself professionally and begin to gain the skillset necessary to stand out amongst my peers. My dream is to be a mechanical engineer and build prosthetics with advanced neurological interfaces that will revolutionize how we see disability. From the professional development I gained during my internship at the Columbia River Economic Development Council, to the numerous opportunities to connect with community leaders, the Future Leaders Project has been a life-changing experience that has helped feed the fire inside me. I look forward to seeing where the rest of the Future Leaders Project experience takes me as I continue my educational and professional journey.”

Eli Cortes
Future Leaders Project Intern 2020/21
Columbia River Economic Development Council