Partnership to Expand Career Opportunities for UVM Students
- By Dawn Marie Densmore
The University of Vermont’s College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (CEMS) and the workforce development nonprofit Vermont HITEC announced the creation of a new partnership today. The partnership is designed to expand internship and employment opportunities for UVM students in engineering, computer science, mathematics and statistics. In collaboration with UVM’s Career Services as well as other workforce agencies in the state, CEMS and Vermont HITEC will work to provide students with a wider array of internship and cooperative-learning opportunities with Vermont businesses. The partnership will link as well with the Vermont Technology Council Internship Program.
The partnership was forged by Bernard “Chip” Cole, interim dean of CEMS and Gerry Ghazi, president of Vermont HITEC, and was formally launched March 11 after piloting it over the past six months. During the pilot phase, more than a dozen CEMS students took part in summer and fall internships with a number of Vermont companies including CVSAS, Semi-Probe, Smart Resource Institute, AllEarth Renewables, EnSave, the CompassSchool and ArtsRiot.
“These learning opportunities are essential for our students. They provide training and experience critical for success in a globally competitive job market in science and technology,” said Cole.
The partnership is funded in part by UVM and a U.S. Department of Labor grant to Vermont HITEC secured by Sen. Patrick Leahy in 2010. Vermont HITEC has been a leader in innovative workforce development activities over the past 12 years, serving more than 1,000 individuals in cooperation with over two dozen companies in Vermont and New Hampshire.
The senator lauded the partnership stating that “to remain globally and nationally competitive, our higher education institutions need to embrace more immediate and deeper connections with industry. Students benefit greatly from opportunities to learn directly from employers at the same time they are pursuing academic studies. It is a perfect marriage I am proud to support.”
The announcement comes only six months after the governor’s higher education advisory group released its report entitled “New Ideas for Changing Times: Strengthening the Partnership Between the State of Vermont and the University of Vermont.” The report cited that “nearly 90 percent of UVM undergraduate students engage in some form of experiential learning, through study abroad, internships, industry partnerships, volunteerism, or other forms of ‘real life’ learning,” and recognizes a need for increased connections between UVM and Vermont employers.
The CEMS-HITEC partnership also follows on the heels of Governor Shumlin’s inaugural address where he highlighted education and workforce development initiatives as key to keeping Vermont’s economy on track over the next few years. As the governor stated in his address: “At a time when Vermonters are facing unemployment and underemployment, many of our jobs creators can't find qualified employees, and it’s government’s responsibility to help fix this problem.”
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