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Lilly Endowment awards Trine grant
Funding will enhance grad-business connections
A $375,000 Lilly Endowment grant will expand relationships and implement new strategies to engage Trine University students in experiential learning assignments which lead to employment in Indiana.
Partnerships with area employers and the Steuben County Economic Development Corp., Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne’s Small Business Development Center, the Angola Area Chamber of Commerce, the Steuben County Industrial Guild, the Northeast Indiana Workforce Investment Board and others will be strengthened, and new connections between Trine students and industries will be made through Trine’s Office of Career Services.
The network will put employers and Trine faculty in touch with high quality educational and technical programs and collaborative opportunities available in this region, and acquaint employers with the talented interns, co-op education students and graduates Trine trains for the workforce.
While providing unique experiential learning, job shadowing, and employment opportunities for Trine students and graduates, the network will also connect regional employers with programs and services to sharpen their competitive edge through provision of cost-effective Business Engineering and Technology Assistance (BETA) Services at Trine’s Technology Center.
A collection of programs and services customized and delivered by Technology Center staff, network partners, Trine faculty, and students to serve regional industries, BETA Services will include training and coursework in emerging technologies, business incubator consulting, engineering design, small business development consulting, and workshops.
The grant will also fund a new Office of Career Services experiential learning coordinator to plan field trips and create opportunities and matches for interns and co-op students. Work study will be a series of experiential learning pieces, with each student completing a series to build work readiness and prepare him or her for co-ops and internships. In addition, the Office of Career Services Web site, TrineCareers.org, will expand to list training sessions and operate as a resource center for literature and other tools.
“We are very excited about this opportunity,” said Career Services Director Linda Bateman, who plans to offer online workshops in addition to the existing live workshops to make the resource available to more students. Her office will also collaborate with faculty members to pursue industry visits and further develop business relationships.
In collaboration with Trine’s Library and Information Services Department, Bateman hopes to provide a one-stop shop for career information from online sources. An option could be the ability to research companies before setting up interviews. The grant also provides funds for career assessment and planning tools to better match students with experiential learning opportunities, Bateman said. Another goal is establishing an alumni and business partner mentor relationship with students.
Trine students already experience very successful placement rates—94 percent were either employed or in graduate school within three months of graduation in May 2008. The grant will enhance the strong placement program, creating even more opportunities for graduates.
The creation of meaningful jobs on campus and the use of marketing dollars to promote Trine’s degree programs with businesses to gain students real-life work experience will be some roles played by her office, said Trine Human Resources Director Cathy Faye. “Co-ops and internships nearly guarantee better placement,” Faye said.