|Prior to arriving in North Carolina, the interns from the Dominican Republic participated in an orientation session in Miami, FL. In addition to the three visitors to NC, five interns traveled to Wisconsin, with SC Telco FCU hosting one other intern.
Three credit unions in North Carolina are hosting emerging credit union leaders from the Dominican Republic. The three visitors are participating in the U.S. Department of State’s Professional Fellows Program.
State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU) and Coastal Federal Credit Union (Coastal) are both hosting interns in the Raleigh-Durham area, while United Services Credit Union (USCU) is hosting an intern in Asheville. The interns arrived in NC October 9 and will stay through November 3.
The Professional Fellows Program brings emerging leaders from around the world to the United States for intensive fellowships designed to broaden their professional expertise. The three NC credit unions are among 17 U.S.-based non-profit organizations and universities chosen to host foreign professionals in 2011- 2012 from over 50 countries and territories worldwide.
The Professional Fellows program supports international cooperation and builds networks of people and organizations working on critical issues worldwide. During their one-month fellowships, participants gain first-hand experience working alongside their American counterparts.
The NC visitors include Hector Cuevas, a loan officer with Coopacrene who is interning with Coastal; Stephany Solano, a member service representative from Cooperativa Empresarial who is interning with SECU; and Kelbio Madera, a loan officer who is interning with USCU.
Participants in the Professional Fellows Program are placed in public, private and non-profit sector organizations across the nation where they learn first-hand how issues in their field are addressed in the United States. The fellows also gain an understanding of American culture through site visits and community-based events.
The three NC credit unions have designed internship objectives for Cuevas, Solano and Madera related to the job tasks they perform at their Dominican Republic credit union. The internships will also provide the three visitors with an opportunity to share best practices from their home credit union. They will also get a feel for NC culture by living with a host family for the first week of their internship, and living in a hotel for the remainder of their visit.
In January 2013, ten Americans participants will travel to the Dominican Republic for official follow-on programming, in conjunction with the fellows they hosted in the United States. “There is high interest among NC credit unions in participating in the return trip to the Dominican Republic,” noted NCCUL President/CEO John Radebaugh. “Credit unions in NC have a strong tradition of working across national borders to promote greater cultural awareness, sharing best practices with their peers, and honoring the cooperative foundation the credit union movement is built upon.” (Note: if you are interested in applying for this phase of the program, please click here for more information.)
At the conclusion of their fellowships, participants will gather in Washington, D.C., to take part in the Professional Fellows Congress, November 7-10, 2012. The Congress provides a forum for participants to discuss best practices with other young leaders in their profession, and to develop concrete projects and networks that they can implement upon their return home.