Michael Martinez| Detroit News

Thousands of interns from around the country will soon flock to downtown Detroit in what’s become a summer rite of passage.

The city’s major employers — from Quicken Loans Inc. to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan — plan to hire the same number or more interns this summer as they did last year, and both employers and outside organizations are planning after-work activities so the students can experience urban life.

In years past, temporary workers have brought new life and energy into offices and helped reinvigorate downtown Detroit by populating Campus Martius, the RiverWalk and bars and restaurants during lunch and after work. That trend will likely continue this year, employers said.

“Our numbers are skyrocketing this summer,” said Kerry Doman, founder of the After 5 intern program, which partners with companies to offer networking and social events. “The excitement of people heading out for lunch, staying downtown after work … that all helps us attract and retain that top young talent after the summer is over.”

After 5 has added suburban-based employers such as Chrysler Group LLC, which plans to bring interns from Auburn Hills to downtown Detroit.

Georgette Borrego Dulworth, director of Chrysler’s talent acquisition and diversity, said the automaker will bring in about 480 paid interns — about 20 more than last year — in all departments this summer. She said the company participated in After 5 two years ago and is making an effort to be more involved this year.

“It’s really a great way for our interns to feel acquainted with the city of Detroit,” she said. “The city has a lot of really wonderful attributes. To have a city that has a vibrant downtown is something prospective employees will look at.”

DIA, game trips

DTE Energy (235 interns), General Motors Co. (500) and Strategic Staffing Solutions (10) are hosting about the same number of interns as last year. And mortgage lender Quicken Loans plans to have more than 1,000 paid interns again this summer, company officials said. The company has received more than 12,000 applications from students at colleges and universities all across the country.

Quicken hopes to show its interns many of the city’s attractions, including the Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit Tigers games and other events. They also have volunteer events planned.

“We also want to make sure our interns have fun and are exposed to all the gems in Detroit,” said Michelle Salvatore, Quicken’s director of recruiting.

Marc Butiong, a 22-year-old business management major at the University of Illinois-Chicago, is returning to Detroit for the second straight summer. He’s interning with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

“I had a phenomenal summer last year,” he said. “I really feel the city and its people really won me over. I take pride in being part of something that’s on it’s way up.”

Last year, Butiong stayed at a hotel near the Detroit River. This year, he said it’s harder to find a spot to live.

‘More pep in their step’

He’ll be among 250 other Blue Cross interns this summer, said Stephanie Thornton, BCBSM’s director of talent acquisition. The company had 242 interns last year. They work in everything from IT to finance to sales, and most are paid between $12 and $24 an hour, she said.

The internships start May 19 and run for 12 weeks. Thornton said the program is good for both the interns and the regular staff.

“I think everyone just has a little more pep in their step,” she said.

“You have 250 young, excited students roaming around the building. I think everyone feels a little bit invigorated.”

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