PPI Intern Program

Does your business want to explore P2 opportunities but lack time or human capital? A PPI Intern can give your facility an environmental jumpstart. Watch the brief video above for an overview of the program. 

Host company application button

Who can apply?
Any business, industry, facility, or entity located in Kansas can host an intern if viable pollution prevention projects have been identified. The internships are 11-weeks and the intern is assigned to work 10-weeks directly at the facility(s) the company applicant has identified. If you have questions about whether your projects qualify, contact the Intern Coordinator.

Short-term or micro-internships of 4-5 weeks can be made available in the right circumstances and locations.

For companies that only have one or two projects, or aren't ready for a full-time intern, there is the circuit rider option. Instead of working with a single company for 10 weeks, a circuit rider intern typically visits 6-8 industries, each for 1-2 days, over the summer and focuses on one or two projects per company.

Host company application for Pollution Prevention Circuit Rider Intern
Download the fillable PDF above and return by email to Cris Brazil

Intern application button

Who can apply?
The program is open to engineering and sciences students enrolled at accredited Kansas colleges or universities and who will have at least a junior standing by the start of the internship summer. The students are matched with companies who have applied to host an intern.

About the program

This nonregulatory, technical program is designed to link Kansas business and industry with Kansas engineering and environmental sciences students. P2 is about eliminating waste and pollutants at the source. Companies benefit from the interns' research projects, which lead to higher operating efficiency, decreased regulatory compliance burdens, and smaller environmental footprints for their host companies.

Working under the guidance and support of technical advisors from PPI, and the host company supervisor, the 10-week summer internship provides students hands-on experience applying pollution prevention strategies in industrial settings to solve environmental management challenges and to add value to company operations.

Businesses receive well-developed, specific recommendations that can benefit the company bottom line and the Kansas environment through projects that target:

  • energy and water use
  • toxic chemicals
  • air emissions
  • hazardous and solid wastes
  • employee risks

Case Summaries

We have more than 100 case summaries highlighting P2 actions for a variety of industries. Our case summaries demonstrate how PPI interns have assisted Kansas companies identify pollution prevention strategies which reduce pollution, energy use, and regulatory burden. We publish these case studies to help Kansas industry identify potential P2 strategies that can be implemented by their company. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Who sponsors the program?
Primary funding for coordinating the intern program comes from the EPA's National P2 Grants.

How are interns paid?
Companies who apply for a fulltime P2 intern will be matched with students that have been screened, interviewed and selected by the Pollution Prevention Institute.

In most cases, the students are hired through Kansas State University and paid by K-State. Host companies with fulltime interns located at their facility will approve all timesheets the interns submit to K-State and then the host company is billed twice during the internship to reimburse PPI for the exact hours the intern worked on projects at the company. This billing uses the fringe benefit rate defined by K-State for student employees enrolled in less than 6 credit hours. In some cases, companies have direct-hired the intern selected by PPI to reduce administrative paperwork, while still participating in the other aspects of the P2 intern program. 

PPI covers the interns’ travel reimbursements to and from the host company for training purposes. Site-specific requirements (e.g. personal protective equipment) are the responsibility of the host company but are tracked by PPI as part of matching funds reporting required by the grant.

Interns are responsible for their housing for the internship. Interns are responsible for moving and acquiring their temporary summer housing before the start of their 10-week on-site internship. However, host companies are encouraged to assist their intern identify short-term housing opportunities in their communities, or nearby, to expedite this transition at the onset of the internship.

What will hosting an intern cost my company?
Depending on grant funding, select industry intern costs may be covered in part or whole by our grant, typically awarded through EPA. Other interns hired for fulltime P2 internships are paid $20.00 per hour.
The total company investment for an intern (before implementing projects) is up to $8,800. As university student employees, interns are capped at 40 hours per week.

$20/hour * 40 hour/week * 11 weeks = $8,800 + K-State fringe benefit rate

In most cases, the process and operational improvement recommendations made during the internships result in cost savings to the company that far exceed the investment in hiring a P2 intern through PPI. 

How are interns trained?
The first week of the internship involves classroom training for the interns on pollution prevention strategies for industrial environments, hosted at K-State. Topics include universal subjects like utility bills, lighting, water conservation, toxics reduction, and solid waste as well as project-specific subjects such as motors, pumps, steam systems, or waste recovery. Principles from this training will be advantageous to future career opportunities.

What happens during the internship?
Most interns spend the first week training in Manhattan and then spend 10 weeks on-site at the host company facility, conducting project research, collecting data and writing reports.

The reports contain environmental and economical savings identified for projects the intern is working on for the host company. All intern reports are submitted to the company's on-site intern supervisor, PPI's intern coordinator, and other assigned pollution prevention or energy specialists at PPI. PPI reviews these reports for technical content and provides feedback and guidance on the intern’s activities.

An intern reports his or her activities and findings each week. Halfway through the internship, all interns attend a retreat where they submit a 30-50% progress report and present project status.

A written final report is due at the end of the internship.  This document is a report for the host company and contains the intern’s methods, findings, and recommendations. PPI encourages interns to present their findings to their host companies and/or project stakeholders and maintains copies of their reports for at least five years.

The intern also develops a case summary that will be published on PPI’s website after the internship, once the host company has approved its content.

Finally, at the end of the internships, PPI hosts an intern symposium in Manhattan where the interns present the findings of their projects. The symposium is open to the public, industry and stakeholders, such as EPA and KDHE, to attend.

I don’t know if my projects qualify...
Start by contacting the us to discuss the projects or schedule an on-site visit. Contact ksu-ppi@ksu.edu or call 800-578-8898.

Intern projects solely focused on compliance with established environmental regulations do not qualify. However, source reduction is an EPA and KDHE recognized method to improve compliance and reduce regulatory burden. 


“The most memorable part of my internship was getting to see another side of manufacturing that I’ve never been exposed to.” -PPI intern

“I'm always impressed by K-State “PPI” interns. I appreciate their efforts and results.” -Intern host company

“I learned so much about pollution prevention and could honestly see myself doing pollution prevention type projects in my future career.“ -PPI intern

“Everything worked out great, we appreciate all of their help.” -Small business client

"The most valuable part of my internship was acquiring environmental principles that I will carry along with me for life.” -PPI intern