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More than 150 Consumers Energy summer interns made a difference in communities throughout Michigan, volunteering for 27 nonprofit organizations through a distinctive competition called the Intern Challenge.

“The Intern Challenge introduces our interns, some of whom will go on to work with us full time, to the idea that we serve our communities on and off the job,” said Carolyn Bloodworth, Consumers Energy’s director of corporate giving.

“Volunteering is an essential part of our Promise to care for the Michigan communities we serve, and it’s important that our interns understand that. In a short time, they see they can make a big impact through food banks, Habitat for Humanity and a number of community projects.”

The Intern Challenge encourages interns to develop creative solutions to needs in the communities the company serves. Interns who took part in the competition attend more than 40 colleges and work in a variety of areas for Consumers Energy, from engineering to information technology to communications.

The competition, which has been taking place annually for nine years, helps set Consumers Energy apart from most companies. Intern participation has been growing, too, from 130 interns last year and 120 in 2013.

Among the interns’ accomplishments:

  • Collecting nearly 3,500 items for food pantries in the Jackson area.
  • Picking up over 60 gallons of trash within a three and a half mile area in downtown Jackson.
  • Building a bench located in a local park in Port Sheldon Township.
  • Designing activities about wind turbines, polymers and electromagnetism to show kids at the Holland Boys and Girls Club how science can be fun.

“We are greatly appreciative of the opportunity and encouragement to participate in the Intern Challenge,” one team wrote. “It was a rewarding experience to leave the community better than we found it. Thank you!”

Last year, Michigan nonprofit organizations received more than $10 million in contributions from Consumers Energy, its employees, retirees, its foundation and the utility’s parent company, CMS Energy.

Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest utility, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and electricity to 6.6 million of the state’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

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