CREC Internship Profile: Charlie Braunlich
Each year, the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness (CREC) hires a number of interns who help the organization during the busy summer period. Each is offered an opportunity to learn how the organization helps municipalities, states, and regions respond to changes in local job markets; and CREC specifically works with undergraduate and graduate students who need academic credit. Most internships attract students who major in economics, public policy / administration, urban planning, and governmental affairs. As part of a series on student learning, CREC looks back on conversations with interns who discussed their passion for helping regional competitiveness.
Intern name: Charlie Braunlich
Field of study: Economics, College of Social Science
School: Michigan State University
1. What brought you to CREC?
My school advisor saw a posting for an internship at CREC and immediately notified me, as she knew this was right up my alley. I was looking to conduct economic research, while at the same time have a positive impact on society. I knew that the CREC would allow me to do this, so I immediately applied and spent the summer in Washington, D.C., as a CREC intern.
2. What professional passions have you been able to further grow while interning at CREC?
I have a passion for analyzing data and using that information to create solutions for problems and find better ways of accomplishing objectives. At CREC, I’ve been able to work with large sets of data and propose solutions, while helping the team develop products that promote economic and social growth in various U.S. regions. Working with the organization has greatly increased my research abilities and provided a wealth of knowledge in terms of what type of data can be provided to public officials, economists, and academics to help influence policymaking.
3. As you’ve worked on the State Business Incentives Database, you’ve had the chance to interact with economists/stakeholders from around the country. Tell us about that experience.
The State Business Incentives project was enthralling because I got to learn quite a bit about each state and how they handle individual business incentive programs differently. Talking with economists from each state not only gave me tremendous professional experience; it also allowed me to develop my interpersonal skills. It also emphasized how important the work that we do is for people around the country in all socioeconomic areas.
4. What have you learned as you’ve worked with the Cost of Living Index?
While working on our Cost of Living Index, I’ve learned about the logistics of compiling a large data set, the various methods of analyzing data, and how to develop it into an index format. It has been extremely interesting to learn about the various regional differences in cost of living throughout the country and being able to identify trends across time. It’s an honor to be able to work on such a renowned and useful tool that so many institutions and individuals refer to.
5. Tell us about any research opportunities you’ve been able to work on or how your role has changed now that you have transitioned into a full-time employee.
Now that I am at CREC full time, I get to work on a project for a major foundation and work with a number of chambers of commerce. In this project, I help provide the data and research so they can build a talent pipeline in their cities to increase youth employment in growing industries. These talent pipelines often target minorities and disenfranchised youth in an attempt to lessen the opportunity gap, which is something I am greatly passionate about. Working on meaningful, tangible projects such as this is what makes the CREC in amazing place to work.