By PAIGE LaBARGE
Capital News Service
LANSING — An internship placement initiative is working to keep college students working in-state after graduation.
The Intern In Michigan program fosters opportunities and includes a new website, internmichigan.com, to match employers with students, according to Michael Boulus, executive director of the Presidents Council, State Universities of Michigan.
“It encourages both students and employers to connect with each other by posting employment opportunities onto the website for students to apply for,” Boulus said. “The website gives alerts and notifications about openings in internships to students e-mails once they become a member.”
The initiative is a partnership with business groups in Southeast Michigan and the Grand Rapids, Traverse City and Lansing areas.
“Each university offers their own opportunities and we want to contribute to that and give students more employment offers that are in-state,” Boulus said.
Jim Gadzinski, director of the Academic and Career Advisement Center at Northern Michigan University, said he works with students every day to explore internships in the state.
“Right now, the economy is driving people, and they will take any location, as long as it’s a job,” Gadzinski said.
Gadzinski said he understands the dilemma young graduates face in finding a job and believes schools can address that by offering more internships.
The initiative was created through four partners: the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce, West Michigan Strategic Alliance in Grand Rapids, Prima Civitas Foundation in Lansing and the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce.
“These are economic development businesses, and we find a lot of our internships for students through them,” Boulus said.
Cindy Brown, project manager for the initiative at the West Michigan Strategic Alliance, said the partners agreed that education is the No.1 priority.
“We found that other regions offer more internships to college students, so we decided to take on the same idea,” Brown said.
She educates employers about the website and gives them a tool kit to start creating efficient internships for students.
“We also look to the partners in this initiative to cover all regions of the state, to ensure all colleges have the same opportunities,” Brown said.
“The website has created 1,000 internships through our relations with regional employers, and we have specifically seen a good response from colleges in western Michigan,” Brown said.
Dan Piepszowski, senior director of community leadership development at the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce, said there have been successful internships through a variety of employers.
“They include Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Masco Corp. and Johnson Controls Inc.,” Piepszowski said.
© 2011, Capital News Service, Michigan State University School of Journalism. Not to be reproduced without permission.