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Industry Internship Program
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What is it?


Community college students working at local companies to gain a better understanding of the work environment while companies benefit from their knowledge and skills.

How is it done?

  • Rely on a full time Industry Coordinator who is critical to the program’s success:

  • Develop and maintain relationships with employers;  responds to their workforce needs;  addresses inevitable changes in employee status

  • Recruit and screen college students as intern candidates

  • Prepare students to interview well and sets expectations for on-the-job behavior

  • Coordinator visits industry representatives promoting Intern successes

  • Coordinator places students in appropriate intern positions for student and industry partner success

  • Coordinator contact is constantly made with industry partners and student interns

  • Student interns are paid for a 320 hours of work during a summer or a semester.

  • Each student is assigned a supervisor/sponsor within the company making sure they are doing real work and getting good exposure to the industry.

  • Budget:  Cost for a full-time industry coordinator and, until industry pays for the interns, the cost to pay the interns at approximately$8.50/hr for an average total of $2500 per internship.

What are the results?

  • The program started in Summer 2012 with 10 students receiving internships at a single defense contractor.  

  • When the typical local STEM employer is a defense contractor, they uniquely require all interns to have security clearances and sponsor interns through the clearance process with the federal government

  • 4 new industry partners (TASC, STG, Southwest Gas, Laser Cosmetic Surgery) hired 27 interns in 2013.

  • Over half the interns have subsequently been hired for regular positions.

  • 16 industry partners, (TASC, ManTECH, METI, Northrop Grumman, Southwest Gas, SSVEC, Lockheed Martin, IEEE, STG, Jacobs Technology, DST, US Forestry Service, Hawk Associates, 2B Squared Engineering, Laser Cosmetic Surgery, City of Sierra Vista) are engaged in some aspect of the Pathway program

What have we learned?

  • Limiting all internships to 29 hours per week instead of the original 40 hours is better for students who are also taking classes.  Summers would be better if interns could work the full 40 hours per week

  • Cooperative education (internships that lead students to earning credits instead of salaries) arrangements are being tested as a good alternative to paid internships

  • Both the College and the industry partners are learning a lot about each other.

  • Reaping the benefits of industry engagement and internships is demanding and best addressed by hiring a dedicated industry coordinator

  • Persistence is key to understanding industry needs and providing them with valuable interns.

  • Providing students their security clearances is not a barrier to the program as originally anticipated.

Private donations fund our operating budget, education and research efforts.

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