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A grant from the Ohio Board of Regents will help expand the co-op and internship program at Ohio University’s Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ College of Engineering and Technology over the next two years.
As part of a statewide workforce development effort, the more than $119,000 in grant funds will go toward establishing relationships with Ohio businesses and give students financial support while they participate in semester co-op and internship experiences to develop marketable job skills.
While employers will match the funds through hourly wages paid to student workers, financial support from the Russ College will cover tuition and fees for the one credit hour students must pay for while doing a co-op or internship during the semester.
Russ College Associate Dean of Academics Jeff Giesey expects to see an increase in participation during the upcoming fall 2014 and spring 2015 semesters as a result.
“We started doing this in the summer a couple of years ago and saw a big increase in student participation,” Giesey said.
Funds will also go toward a new graduate assistant position for the Office of Professional Experiences to support relationships with employers and expand the number of companies recruiting Russ College students for co-ops and internship assignments.
Co-op and internship experiences benefit both employers and students, Giesey said, because businesses get a preview of future talent while students can explore specializations and develop professional skills in a technical setting.
Industry partners in the program include Cornerstone Research Group, FirstEnergy Corp., General Mills, Hyland Software, Miba Bearings U.S., The O'Gara Group Sensor Systems Division, Tata Consultancy Services and Toledo Molding and Die, Inc.
In conjunction with the Voinovich School for Leadership and Public Affairs, the Russ College also plans to use the funding to assess barriers to student co-op and internship participation and develop strategies to remove those barriers.
The $11 million in state funds for the “Ohio Means Internships and Co-ops” effort, which come from casino licensing fees, were awarded to 10 community colleges and 15 public and private universities throughout Ohio.