Investing in Students

Employers nationwide are cutting the number of internship opportunities by nearly 21 percent, according to a study conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. One state agency is hoping to prevent that trend from reachingOklahoma’s science and technology industry.
“With more companies restructuring and revamping their budgets, we want to make sure internship programs aren’t put on the chopping block,” said Michael Carolina, executive director of the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology. “Internships are vital to keeping talented undergraduate students in Oklahoma.”
OCAST offers a Research and Development Intern Partnerships program that supports college undergraduate internships in the state by encouraging students to prepare for careers in science and technology. The program provides Oklahoma companies $10,000 to $30,000 per year for one- to two-year projects, and the sponsoring technology-based business supplies the required match.
On July 30, OCAST will host a free workshop to help companies who are interested in applying for the Research and Development intern program from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the OSU Center for Health Sciences in Tulsa.
Internships provide undergraduate students and faculty members with hands-on research and development experience in a workplace environment. The program builds bridges between industry and academia to achieve mutually beneficial research goals.
The average starting salary for a college graduate who has participated in the OCAST intern program is $39,099, 12 percent aboveOklahoma’s per capita income.
“It’s a win-win-win situation,” said Carolina. “Students get experience, companies get funding to hire talented prospective employees andOklahoma continues to diversify its economy.
“With salaries nearly 33 percent higher than Oklahoma’s average per capita income, science and technology help position our state to retain its most valuable asset – its people,” said Carolina. “We can achieve a diverse economy with a culture of innovation and new opportunities that attract and retain bright, creative people. In order to achieve more for our state, we must invest in our future by developing the next generation of researchers and entrepreneurs.”
Companies who are interested in applying for the program should submit a letter of intent by August 5. Completed applications are due to OCAST August 19. Attendance at the July 30 application workshop is not required.R&D internship workshop held in Tulsa.

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