Bryan Osborne is a tech junkie. He’s an avid gamer, experiments with CAD/3D modeling, studies Computer Information Systems at Western Michigan University, and is learning new skills this summer through a new internship program at Amerifirst Home Mortgage in Kalamazoo.
Bryan is one of nine junior and senior students learning “real-life” career skills in the mortgage industry through Amerifirst. The students are working in the departments of Marketing, Information Technology, Appraisals, Human Resources, Legal/Compliance and at branch office locations in Kalamazoo. The program began in May and continues through August.
Front Row (left to right): Declan Hartnett, Peter Rossi; Back Row: Joe Olmsted, Riley Holmes, Baileigh Strong, Nicole Dincau, Jackie Pulliam, Bryan Osborne, and Susan Hoffman.
Amerifirst Staff Recruiter Kelly McConnell says the internship program was created to attract a pipeline of talent for the fast-growing mortgage lender. Prior to launching the program, she and coworker Nicole Waterbury discussed the project with local college career departments and reached out to other corporations running successful internship programs.
Once the partnership was announced between Amerifirst and WMU and Kalamazoo College, Amerifirst received nearly 50 applications. McConnell spent several days interviewing applicants at WMU to ensure the inaugural group of interns was a good fit with the positions she needed to fill.
“It was important to us to engage the interns with real work assignments and to create a culture that supports, educates and challenges them as well,” McConnell said.
A weekly Lunch & Learn program encourages community and cohesiveness among the interns. During these 60-minute sessions, members of senior management provide industry and life skills education along with overviews of their respective areas of expertise so the interns get the full picture of Amerifirst. A recent highlight included a session with Owner/CEO Mark Jones, who shared his passion and business philosophy with the students, who were surprised but appreciative of his time.
“I’m so happy to witness the success of this program,” said Angela Young, who oversees 60 employees in the Accounting Department and will be requesting two interns next summer. “It’s very gratifying to help move them along their pathway in life.”
“To go from an idea to conception in four months has been really exciting, positive and rewarding,” Waterbury added. “This program is an excellent word of mouth message to the community that we are a high-quality employer with great job and career opportunities.”
Information Technology Intern Osborne said one of the benefits of the program for him is being able to network “with a bunch of people” and that he has tripled his network contacts on LinkedIn.
“Not only am I gaining technical knowledge and experience working the IT Help Desk, but I get to experience the bigger picture - how everything works together in IT and how it affects the company as a whole.”
If you or someone you know is interested in being an intern at Amerifirst, please contact Kelly McConnell by phone at 269.324.4240 ext. #12020, or by e-mail at recruiter@Amerifirst.com for more information.
About Amerifirst Home Mortgage:
Headquartered in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Amerifirst Home Mortgage is an independent community mortgage lender founded in 1983 by entrepreneurs Mark Jones and David Gahm. Amerifirst is committed to making a meaningful difference in the lives of its customers, its employees and the communities they serve. The Amerifirst team of over 500 professionals offers a full line of mortgage products including FHA loans, VA mortgage loans, USDA Rural Development loans, Renovation loans and conventional lending. Amerifirst is licensed in a dozen states across the Midwest and Southeast Regions, and takes great pride in establishing quality relationships with its customers by continuing to service their loans. Amerifirst Home Mortgage is a division of Amerifirst Financial Corp.