$150,000 Grant Provides Students with Paid Internships
Thanks to a new $150,000 grant, students attending Kent State University at Stark can gain workplace experience through paid internships that will put their career goals within reach.
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ 2014 Internship and Co-op Survey, 65 percent of employers made full-time offers to their interns. With most internships being unpaid, many students cannot afford to accept these valuable opportunities that will pave their career paths.
To provide an employment advantage to their students, Kent State Stark applied for and was approved to receive the Career Ready Internship Grant through the Wisconsin-based Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation, a nonprofit student loan servicer with a mission of helping more people have the chance to attend and complete college. The campus is one of the few regional recipients of the grant.
The paid internships will provide much-needed work experience and income for junior- and senior-level students who have proven financial need, in addition to allowing Kent State Stark to forge business relationships with employers in the public, private and nonprofit sectors.
Partner companies in various industries and non-profit sectors are being sought and approval is based on relevant projects and tasks being assigned to the internship in order to improve future career options. The interns are not there to file, sort paper or answer the phones. Their assignments must correlate with the degree they are pursuing to fulfill the purpose of the grant.
Denise Seachrist, interim dean of the campus, reports that nearly 30 employers in Northeast Ohio have confirmed their interest in hiring a Stark Campus student. She views sending students to local companies and organizations as a form of giving back and bolstering the region’s college retention and graduation rates.
Kent State Stark students must demonstrate financial need to be eligible for the internship program. The award levels the playing field for qualifying students, since many would not be able to afford working in an unpaid internship position.
The grant spans through the 2014-15 academic year, including the summer. Students have the option of working a few hours per week during a semester or full-time for 10 or 12 weeks during the summer.
Part of the grant will be used to teach participants “soft skills” through Kent State Stark’s Corporate University, a department that specializes in professional development training. Students will be enrolled in courses to teach them useful business practices, such as making effective decisions and adapting to social situations.
The Career Ready Internship Grant is a door opener for many Kent State Stark students, as well as businesses and organizations that want to offer experience to tomorrow’s leaders, but don’t have the financial resources to do so.
“As Stark County’s only public university, we are proud to embrace our role as educators of this region, but we also want to lift up the entire community in the process,” says Seachrist.
Employers who are interested in partnering with Kent State Stark to hire interns through the Career Ready Internship Grant should contact Faith Sheaffer-Polen, director of The Corporate University, at 330-244-3505 or firstname.lastname@example.org.