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New university grant to help students with internships

The $250,000 grant is set to help the university with initiatives targeted for students of color, first-generation students and students demonstrating financial need

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Elijah Bia | The Daily Wildcat

Old Main, blocked off to allow landscape workers to operate. Taken on Aug. 10, 2020, off of the UA Mall.

The University of Arizona has been provided a $250,000 grant from Beyond Completion Challenge to help expand programs to help students of color, first-generation students and students with financial needs with internships.

Beyond Completion Challenge is a program that aims to enhance career opportunities for students from marginalized communities and students who have difficulties paying for college.

Beyond Completion Challenge is offered through the Strada Education Network. According to a news release from University of Arizona News, the network is “a nonprofit organization whose mission includes increasing access to education after high school.”

In a survey conducted by Abra McAndrew, assistant vice president of access, engagement and opportunity for UA Student Engagement and Career Development and principal investigator for the grant, it was found that “first generations students who had internship experience were more than three times likelier to get a job right out of college than their peers who did not complete internships.”

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McAndrew said that the results of this survey are the reason why her team decided to focus on internships.

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“That’s something we could anticipate,” McAndrew said, adding that employers also have long indicated in surveys that they prefer entry-level job candidates who have internship experience. “Now, we have the data and the nuanced analysis that shows it. We’ve been piloting some strategies for a while, and this funding gives us a chance to double down on scaling those programs.”

With the new funding, the university will now be able to provide at least 1,400 more students internship support by the expansion of its three internship-related programs, according to the UA press release. Alongside the grant, the university will give $178,000 to further the expansion of the programs.

One way the funding will be put to use is by providing 1,250 students access to Career Core.  According to the Career Core website, it is “an online training course that helps teach students how to find internships and translate internship and academic experiences into skills that they can market in job interviews.”

The course will be provided by the educational services company Kaplan and it will go hand-in-hand with the already existing Career Peer Coaches program. The program partners students with other students who serve as mentors to help them prepare for job searching after college.

Another program that will offer more scholarships through the university is the Summer Internship Stipend. The stipend provides students with unpaid or underpaid internships financial support. For first-generation or low-income students, unpaid or underpaid internships aren't always an option that they can have, so the stipend program helps these students keep their internships and gain valuable experience.


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