The university is setting up a simple, electronic way for businesses and students to connect and establish internships and mentor programs efficiently.
“I want to partner with our local businesses, including the Chamber of Commerce, to develop new opportunities that can establish a really connected community between the university and Chamber of Commerce,” said David Eckmann, special assistant to the chancellor for economic development. “It’s getting really competitive out there, and business customers are looking for opportunities to identify talent, so that means being a partner with the university or technical-college system.”
Eckmann hopes to establish a link within business websites, directly linking a website of profiles to students who are interested in certain fields. Businesses would be able to view the student profiles and contact them if they meet the corporation’s criteria for internships or mentorships.
“If I was in a business field, I would put in the effort to make a profile if that increased my chances of finding an internship,” said John Julka, education major.
The main goal is to connect internship programs more easily to businesses and other corporations.
“Some students might be looking for a business mentor, so if they want to explore that area first, the Chamber of Commerce can help identify potential mentorships which might turn into internships,” Eckmann said.
The university has already met with the Portage County Chamber of Commerce, and Eckmann hopes the program will be available by fall 2015.
“I think a two-sided program like mentioned will assist students and employers,” said said Kyle Tamboli, accounting and finance major. “It will give students more opportunities to find these internships and will help employers potentially find out a little more about the applicants.”
Tamoli said upon graduation he will have had three to four internships, and he believes each one had something different to offer.
“The internships have helped me pinpoint exactly where I want to end up,” Tamboli said. “Plus, having even a little experience in your field makes it so much easier to be employed upon graduation.”
Eckmann hopes the program will bring talent and assets from the university to the community, businesses and nonprofit organizations.
“We are also working with the Career Services team to develop a proactive measure in order to get a marketing team out there,” Eckmann said. “I think students will have a much greater success rate with engaging people their own age or younger, so we would love to start a student ambassador team.”
The student ambassador team would travel to various schools in the area or in their hometown to represent University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and spread the word about the various internship opportunities available through UWSP.
“This is a team effort and since students are passionate and have a lot of pride in their university, I think this would be a great opportunity for them to connect with the community in different ways,” Eckmann said.
He believes in the internship programs currently offered through UWSP and Career Services. He said he wants to focus on talent development above all else.
“We are developing talent in the students here and then when they become citizens, they will bring those skills to the community,” Eckmann said. “If we don’t have that growth in population, we won’t have the revenues to support the public good we all enjoy.”