IGNITE! connects students to local companies, start-ups and non-profit organizations for paid, professional positions during the academic year.  IGNITE! students work up to 20 hours a week for a minimum of $10 per hour with an IGNITE! company.


Through IGNITE!, DeKalb County Economic Development Corporation member companies, northern Illinois start-ups and/or non-profit organizations hire NIU College of Business students to assist with professional tasks and projects during the school year. Hiring organizations pay just a fraction of the student salary for part-time help. Organizations must submit a proposal and be selected to participate. Up to five organizations will be selected annually.

Frequently Asked Questions

General dates are referenced in the FAQ responses. Please see the Important Dates and Deadlines for current year information.

What is IGNITE!?

Through the NIU College of Business IGNITE! program, up to five DeKalb County Economic Development Corporation member companies, local start-ups and/or local non-profit organizations can easily hire NIU College of Business students to assist with professional tasks and projects during the school year. Hiring organizations pay just $250 for a semester of part-time help from fall hiring to mid-December. The NIU College of Business will subsidize student wages up to $10 per hour.

How do we get involved?

Organizations must submit a position proposal online. Position proposals must include clear goals, defined professional responsibilities, projects and developmental opportunities, and general expectations. A College of Business committee will select five to proposals to fund by the end of June.

What are the terms of the student employment?

The students will be hired as regular NIU student workers, thus subject to all criteria, policies, and guidelines set forth by the state, university, and federal government. These include:

  • The student is registered for a minimum of 6 credit hours.
  • The student meets the cumulative GPA requirements
    • 2.0 or above for undergraduate, postgraduate and law students
    • 3.0 or above for graduate student
  • Student employees may generally work a maximum of 20 hours per week, while classes are in session. During vacation periods while the university is open, students may work up to 25 hours a week.
  • Student employees should be provided one 15-minute break period for every continuous four-hour work period. The 15-minute break period should be preceded and followed by work.

Students are eligible to work during the fall semester from late August until mid December.

The students will be paid a minimum of $10/hour.

What is the external organization’s share of the wage?

External organizations are asked to pay just $250 toward the student’s wage. This can be paid in one of two ways:

  • The organization can hire the student and pay the student $.075 per hour directly. NIU will pay the balance of $9.25 per hour directly to the student.
  • The organization can donate $250 to the NIU ELC Angel Fund (approx. 16 weeks * 20 hours per week * $0.75 per hour). NIU will pay the entire $10 per hour directly to the student. NIU can generate an invoice, if needed.
Can we pay the student more?

Yes, the organization can supplement the student wage. In this case, NIU will pay $9.25 per hour and the organization will pay the student $0.75 per hour plus the amount the organization would like to supplement.

How are students managed?

The organization is responsible for selecting, hiring, onboarding, training and day-to-day management of the IGNITE! student.

Students must submit timesheets to the NIU College of Business two times each month. This must be signed by their organizational supervisor.

How are the IGNITE! positions promoted to the students?

Organizations selected for the IGNITE! program must load their positions in Huskies Get Hired, the NIU online job board, and indicate that the position is limited to College of Business majors and funded through the IGNITE! Program.

For assistance, please contact Jan Wylde in NIU Career Services at jwylde2@niu.edu or 815-753-8346.

IGNITE! organizations will host virtual information sessions in late August.

What resources are available to support the hiring process?

In Huskies Get Hired organizations can choose how students apply, directly to the organization or through the Huskies Get Hired system. NIU Career Services has interview rooms for organizations to speak with students on campus.

We found the ideal student and would like to make an offer. Now what?

When a hiring decision is made, the organization should make the offer to the student and contact Amy Buhrow or 815-753-5764 with the student’s name when the offer is accepted.

Important Dates and Deadlines

July 15, 2020 – IGNITE! proposals due

July 30, 2020 – IGNITE! positions selected