Frequently Asked Questions


ELI Student Section



ELI matches college students of color with paid internships at top Portland-area companies. This includes both undergrad and graduate students as well as recent graduates (within one year of graduation) who are looking for experience.

How does an ELI internship differ from other internship programs?

Our interns are selected not only for their smarts, but for their desire to grow as leaders. The companies that are hosting interns have a sincere desire to broaden the representation of the full Portland community in their workplace. And they’re looking for new pipelines of talent. They’re looking for someone just like you to bring a new perspective.

Are all of the internships in Portland?

Most internships are in Portland, but not all of them. In the past we’ve had positions in Vancouver and locations around the metro area including Beaverton, Hillsboro, and Lake Oswego. The application has a place for you to identify if you are willing to take an internship outside of Portland.

Can out-of-state students participate?

Our desire is to connect students who have a strong connection to Portland to internships in the region. The idea is that students of color who grew up in Portland will return to the city after graduation to build a career. And for those who have made Portland their home during college or graduate school, they will see themselves making this the place to build a career and participate in the community. As such, we currently accept applicants who are from Portland and attending school anywhere, and those who are from any other location, but who are attending a higher ed institution in the Portland area and are planning to look for career opportunities here. This includes all students attending Oregon State University and University of Oregon.

Do you accept international students?

Yes, but due to the current limitations on work visas for international students related to length of eligibility to work in the US, and the desire of many of our partner companies to potentially hire an intern after graduation, we are currently only able to consider international students in careers that are eligible for a 3-year Optional Practical Training (OPT). Generally, students studying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are eligible for this extension. International students are encouraged to research Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and OPT requirements now to be ready for internship opportunities with ELI and elsewhere.

Can I apply after I graduate?

Students can apply for an ELI internship up to one year after undergraduate graduation, or while in graduate school. Students must have completed a minimum of one year of college coursework to be eligible. That can be at a community or a 4-year college.

Will I get credit for an ELI internship?

At this time we do not coordinate credit for ELI internships, but interns are free to discuss this with their company and school once they have accepted the internship.


There is no application fee. However, if you are selected and placed in a paid internship, you will be required to pay a minimal intern fee of $50 before the program ends in order to establish accountability between our interns, our program and our company partners.

How long is the internship commitment?

Most internships run 10-12 weeks with scheduling flexibility to accommodate school calendars. These are generally full-time internships working 30-40 hours/week. Internships with shorter work weeks will be identified in the description.

Can I pick which company I’d like to work with?

You will have an opportunity to indicate a few internships that are of primary interest. ELI will try to match you with your preferences, but the staff will also match students to other internships where they see a good fit. Keep an open mind; some of the best internship opportunities are with companies you may not be familiar with.

What kind of work will my internship entail?

That depends on your interests, goals, career ambitions, and the company’s internship needs. Companies agree to provide work that is important to their goals and a senior leader as a mentor. Whatever specific work you do in your ELI internship, it’ll be relevant to the organization and insightful for the intern.

What kind of support does ELI offer to interns?

ELI encouragement begins at the interview event. You’ll be treated professionally and will gain experience in interviewing and networking through the process. Students who are selected for an internship will have a senior leader mentor in their company. Additionally, ELI will host gatherings during the summer to support and inspire you on your path to becoming a professional. And ELI will continue to act as a support throughout your experience. In 2019 we will offer additional workshops on topics such as resume creation, networking, and other professional development topics.


  1. Submit an online application before the deadline of January 31, including a resume and essay questions. Your application will be screened to see if you meet the minimum requirements.

  2. If you pass this first screening, we’ll invite you to an interview on March 2 in Portland. This is a required step for all candidates to move forward in the selection process.

  3. ELI staff will then evaluate your application, resume, and interview results to match 3 students to each internship opening as finalists for the company to select from. Students who apply are not guaranteed an internship.

  4. In April, if you’re matched to an opening, you and up to 2 other candidates will be contacted by the company to set up a final selection interview. Final interviews and offers will take place in April and are the decision of the company that is offering the position.

  5. In June, you’ll attend an orientation program to set you up for success in your 10-12 week internship.

How can I find out the status of my application?

You will be notified following the January 31, 2019 deadline if you are invited to the interview event on March 2, 2019.

What kind of resume do I need for the application?

If you have not prepared a professional quality resume yet, you can get great tips and format suggestions at We will only accept PDF format, and it is best not to use a lot of graphics in the resume. Your career center is a great resource to help you as well.

What happens at the interview event, and is it required?

The purpose of the event is two-fold. First, it gives you a chance to hear more about our program and to gain experience in an interview situation. This is an opportunity to improve your skills and to network with the ambitious students and supportive professionals at the event. From day one, you are part of the ELI family.

Second, it provides the ELI staff with feedback from interviewers on the way you present yourself and your readiness for an internship. Throughout the event, the focus is on building you up and on giving you feedback to make you an even stronger candidate. We want to reassure you that, yes, ELI really does want you as an intern at a top company.

The interview event on March 2 is required. If you are unable to attend for a valid reason, we will talk to you about an alternate way to accomplish the interview.

What if I am studying abroad during the selection process?

The application deadline is firm and the online application may be completed from anywhere you have access to it. There is a mandatory interview event on March 2 for all students who are selected to move forward in the selection process. For students who are out of the country, a phone interview may be scheduled. Students must also be available (by phone or Skype) if they cannot be present to participate in a final interview if invited to compete for a particular internship.

When will I know if I’m selected as a finalist?

Following the interview event on March 2, the ELI staff completes an intensive matching process and may not be able to reply to inquiries about your status. You’ll know in April if you’re a finalist for one or more internships.

How will I know if I will get an internship?

There is no guarantee that finalists will be offered an internship. It is a competitive process and the company will ultimately decide who to interview and who to hire. Offers for internships are given directly to the intern by the hiring company. All offers are expected to be made by the end of April.

If I’m not selected, can I reapply?

Yes, you're welcome to reapply! In fact, we encourage you to apply each year through graduation. Your skills will be building and new internships will open up as ELI grows.

How can I email ELI?

Send your ELI-related emails to

Which companies offered internships in 2018, and will they be the same this year?

Many companies will renew their internships in 2019, and others will have openings in different departments. While we don’t know for certain what the needs will be, you can take a look at the company partners from 2018 and the list of past internship categories below to anticipate the types of internships that will be available.


2018 Internship Categories

Business Affairs/Operations
Communications & Social Media
Community Engagement
Creative & Copywriting
Data Analytics & Support
Design & User Experience
Digital Marketing
Event Coordination
Finance & Financial Analysis
Fundraising & Grants
Graphic Design
Human Resources
Product Development
Project Management
Public Relations
Sales & Data Support
Solar Engineering
Strategic Planning/Analysis
Technical Project Management
Web Development


ELI Company Section

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What is the relationship between ELI and the Portland Leadership Foundation?

ELI is one of the initiatives of the Portland Leadership Foundation (PLF). We've been active in scholarships for underrepresented students for more than 10 years and have a focus on empowering the underserved through all our work. PLF's vision is to see a transformed and strengthened Portland community through the development of multicultural leaders.

What is the expected length of the internship?

Most internships run 10-12 weeks, roughly from June 1 to August 31, with scheduling flexibility to accommodate school calendars and business needs. Private schools are generally out at the beginning of May, publics later in June.

How many hours per week will each intern work?

These are generally full-time internships working 40 hours/week. Shorter work week internships should be identified in the job description.

When is our memorandum of understanding (MOU) due?

January 15 is the deadline for inclusion in ELI 2019. We may accept late MOUs for a few weeks after that date, but late additions will lose exposure to students who apply early.

What information do you need for each job description?

Job descriptions should be sent to us no later than January 31 so that we can include them in our 2019 website and invite students to get familiar with your company and internship.

  1. A description of the project or type of work you’ll assign to each intern.

  1. Which department each intern will work in (i.e. Finance, Web Design, Marketing, etc.)

  1. Any specific skills, languages, or certifications successful interns will need (i.e. Java, Python, etc for IT roles, or Adobe Flash, Illustrator, Corel, etc for graphic design roles).

  1. Whether your internship is open to both college students (undergraduate and graduate school) and recent graduates (graduating seniors).

  1. Expected hours per week. Nearly all internships are offered as full-time positions.

  1. Hourly wage, keeping in mind that the MOU states the minimum is $15/hour.

  1. Your internship start and end dates, if different from June 1 to August 31.

  1. Any other specific requirements for each internship.

When will you notify companies of finalist candidates?

We’ll let you know who your finalist candidates are no later than March 31.

Who schedules the interviews with the finalist candidates?

Each company, as the intern host, is individually responsible for contacting their final candidates to schedule interviews, make offers, and decline applicants who aren’t accepted. As soon as you select your candidate you should notify ELI at .

Who manages payroll for the intern?

In the past, nearly all ELI hosting companies have handled their own payroll, but we do have an option for you to run it through Worksystems Inc.

Why is there a $1500 contribution for each intern?

Your company’s $1500 per intern contribution helps defray the cost of running the ELI program by contributing to website and application development, intern-to-company matching, event scheduling, staffing, and intern orientation costs.

When and to whom do we send the $1500 per intern contribution?

The first half of your contribution is due along with the MOU by January 15. ELI will send you an invoice after receiving your signed MOU. After your intern has accepted your offer, the second half of your contribution is due. All contributions should be made by June 1, 2019.

Checks should be made to:

Portland Leadership Foundation Attn: ELI
809 North Russell Street, Suite 203
Portland, OR 97227

Is there a fee if we don’t hire an ELI intern?

No. You only pay for the successful match of a student who begins an internship with you. If the company interviews a minimum of three candidates, and the program is not able to identify a match, the company will receive reimbursement for the first half of the payment.

What kind of engagement, if any, should my company have with ELI once our internship program starts?

We’d love feedback on your intern and your internship program experience in general—positive notes, critical observations, suggestions, etc.—at any time. We’ll also encourage you to participate in our mid-summer event and surveys. Employees with hosting companies are also welcome to join us as a volunteer for a number of opportunities ranging from the interview event, to mentoring, to acting as a resume coach.

What kind of support does ELI offer to interns?

ELI encouragement begins at the interview event. Students who are selected for internships will attend an internship orientation. They will receive tips on how to successfully engage their internship experience. We will also provide them with a network of support and will convene periodic summer gatherings to support and inspire.

How can we email ELI?

All email correspondence should be sent to