In keeping with The University of Findlay’s emphasis on and tradition of experiential learning, students are working paid internships at places such as Awakening Minds Art and the Findlay Country Club thanks to a one-year competitive grant awarded in July 2014.
The $149,340 Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation’s grant is enabling more diverse employment opportunities for students and helping the business community prosper too. The University intends to fund up to 60 interns through August 2015. Candidates must prove financial need to be eligible.
Following a successful pilot program, Great Lakes awarded a total of $5.2 million to 40 colleges and universities in four states.
“We place a premium on ideas that work, and our Career Ready Internship grants help level the playing field for students who receive financial aid,” said Richard D. George, Great Lakes’ president and chief executive officer. “This program has the added benefit of developing relationships of lasting value between colleges and employers.”
Learned knowledge, skill and abilities acquired in classrooms are being applied to “real-world situations,” said Tricia Valasek, grants manager for the University.
“It is the hope that the internships at the various nonprofits and businesses turn into paid careers after graduation,” Valasek said.
“Many times students pass up these opportunities that could lead to career placement simply because they are not paid positions. However, with these grant monies, students can accept these positions, earn money to pay down their student loans, and put their education to practical use for different employers,” she said. “Employers then gain an intern who can fill their workforce gaps and, perhaps, assist them in moving toward a direction that would not be feasible without the intern’s expertise and guidance.”
Phil Gunder, the University’s director of internships and cooperative education, said the grant has “opened up other opportunities” for businesses that would have otherwise not been able to accommodate student interns because of budget constraints.
This Career Ready Internship grant, along with the $367,491 grant from the Ohio Board of Regents’ Ohio Means Internships and Co-ops program “is a testament that UF is putting the career goals of students first,” Valasek added.
“UF is expanding its successful internships and career placement office to include additional staff who can work more hands-on with students interested in pursuing an internship for their experiential learning component,” said Valasek. The University is moving beyond traditional internship placements to focus on finding “the perfect fit” for students by keeping their career goals and academic program training in mind, she said.
Knowing that education has the power to change lives for the better, Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates helps millions of students pay for college and repay their student loans. Through Community Investments, Great Lakes leads initiatives and funds programs that help students from traditionally underserved backgrounds start and complete a two- or four-year degree or other credential. For additional information, visit community.mygreatlakes.org.