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Grant Aims to Increase Internships Across the State

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Ohio's Board of Regents will hand out nearly 11 million dollars to more than 25 colleges and universities, along with several state technical centers, to expand their internship and co-op programs. This is the second round of funding from the Ohio Means Internships and Co-Ops grant program, supported through the distribution of one-time casino licensing fees. StateImpact Ohio's Amy Hansen reports.

Thursday, March 20, 2014 at 4:54 pm

Bowling Green State University's Career Center Director Jeff Jackson found out earlier this month his school will receive $650,000 to support internships.

He says they'll use the two-year grant in part to help subsidize intern wages in high demand industries like biohealth, food processing, and advanced manufacturing.

The hope is that companies will see the reduced financial burden of taking on paid interns as a benefit.

"We're trying to create a culture of companies who, in the past, may not have entertained an intern or co-op," Jackson said. "We're creating an environment where they can help in exploring this, and of course, the money always helps in bringing people to the table."

Zach Waymer is the Board of Regents' Director of Experiential Learning and Outreach. He says the grant has led many companies to create internships for the first time or restart programs that may have taken a hit when the economy nosedived several years ago.

And, he says, it may ultimately help stem the so-called brain drain - Ohio students leaving for jobs out of state after graduating.

"The overall goal is to attract and retain talent in Ohio and help to attract and retain businesses," Waymer said. "For the students, it helps get the message out that this is an important part of their college experience to get that transfer of their skills or their knowledge from the classroom into the workplace and it will help them to be better positioned to get a job upon graduation."

The grant is expected to boost the link between colleges and businesses while creating and sustaining internships for nearly 2,500 Ohio students.

Each recipient has to match the grant money with its own funds.

Waymer says there are currently no plans to renew the grant for another cycle.