WAEF offers scholarships to students whose families work in the tree fruit industry (180 scholarships awarded last year totaling about $475,000).
As Smith got more involved with WAEF programs, including, most recently, helping secure a $25,000 grant for WAEF scholarships from the Walmart Foundation's state giving grant program, she realized she could provide another hometown connection --that would benefit both students and Walmart.
Her access to potential interns through her connection to WAEF scholarship recipients provided the opportunity she needed to pilot the internship program in her own stores.
Witherbee said the WAEF often helps students "find internships, so the request from Smith to spread the word about the Walmart internship was not out of the blue.
For the first year of the Walmart internship, in summer 2011, Smith had seven applications thanks to the WAEF's referrals.