An internship housing program that kicks off this summer at the Iowa Center for Higher Education is proving to be highly popular with students and their hosting employers.

The University of Iowa's Internship Village — which is housed in Fenton Hall on the former AIB College of Business campus on Fleur Drive in Des Moines — will be filled to capacity this summer with 134 college interns who are coming from throughout Iowa and institutions in 24 others states. About 25 of the interns are University of Iowa students. The interns will work for more than 30 business and organizations throughout Greater Des Moines.

"We're maxed out," said Tom Rice, director of the Iowa Center for Higher Education, who said that applications from summer interns are still rolling in. Expanding the program with existing space is not an option, however, as Fenton Hall is the only dormitory space on the campus. Rice said he has been able to refer some interns to Grand View University for rooms.

Filling the otherwise vacant rooms with interns keeps the building in use and helps defray the cost of maintaining the campus, which provides some savings to the state, Rice said. Providing the housing also builds goodwill between UI and and the Des Moines business community, as well as with other colleges.

Principal Financial Group, which typically hosts more than 200 summer interns each year, found space for more than 40 of those interns at the Intern Village.

"We really haven't been able to accommodate housing very well previously," said Shelbi Spear, a member of Principal's university relations team. "Nothing has even come close to the Intern Village in terms of cost, convenience and the ability for interns to meet other interns."

"Our team has been nothing but impressed with Tom's engagement ideas for Des Moines employers," added Erin Maltby, another Principal university relations team member. "I can say they're truly committed to providing a meaningful internship experience." As an example, Rice is working to invite executives from the companies offering the internships to visit the interns at the Village through social events such as a barbeque. "Where else can you have that kind of engagement?" she said.

The Intern Village will be open year-round to accommodate interns; Rice is now accepting applications for rooms for both the fall and the spring semesters. He can be reached at 515 235-4616 or via email.

Any college or university student with a verified internship in Greater Des Moines can rent one of the units, with a minimum stay of eight weeks in summer and 11 weeks for the fall and spring semesters. All units are furnished and have kitchens, private bathrooms, heat and air conditioning.

Read a related story regarding the Des Moines Internship Village at BusinessRecord.com.