Brian Rust takes a sample from a grain truck as it dumps wheat at Morrow County Grain Growers’ Hogue-Warner grain elevator in Irrigon on Tuesday afternoon. Morrow County Grain Growers is offering as many as seven intern positions through the new Morrow County internship program

A collaborative plan to mentor youth locally not only creates opportunities now but sets the stage for success in the future

The program, the Columbia Summer Works Summer Internship Program, is a united effort between the Port of Morrow and Morrow County chambers of commerce and will be a nucleus for area business drawn to the idea of furnishing paid internships in business that run the gamut from digital media marketing to vector control.

The foundation of the idea is simple — attract young people into the area in the hope they will put down roots and contribute to the local economy and culture.

Investing in the future is, of course, a wise move. Our society is one that is in constant flux, and change — in status, jobs — is an American mainstay.

Why this idea makes such good sense, though, is because Eastern Oregon has traditionally been an area that exports its youth and talent. Cities and growth areas in other parts of the state — and the nation — attract talented young people.

This program, though, is one of those rare plans where area entities want to turn that old paradigm on its head and import talent and nourish it. The program also has as focus on mentoring and guiding homegrown talent.

All of this, of course, is aimed at setting our region up for success. Exporting our youth, transferring our talent to other parts of the state or the region or nation, means we will not be able to sustain ourselves, our way of life, in the future.

The more we can invest in the future with programs like the Columbia Summer Works Summer Internship Program, the more opportunities we will all have.

The other interesting item about the program is its collaborative nature. Instead of waiting around for someone to provide an answer, the entities involved in the program made a conscious effort to come together to find a solution.

Working together really does work. This program is a great example of that.

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