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Space Grant Program to Help with Internships

College and university students majoring in science, engineer­ing, technology and math (STEM) fields have a free new resource for summer 2013 internships, as do companies that wish to hire them, thanks to a new program sponsored by the Virginia Space Grant Consortium (VSGC).

The consortium, which is based at Old Dominion University and includes institutions of higher education throughout the state, established the Commonwealth STEM Industry Internship Program (CSIIP). It was announced earlier this fall at the Northern Virginia Technology Coun­cil Titans of Technology breakfast.

CSIIP offers a no-cost, centralized, online application system that allows students majoring in STEM fields at accredited Virginia col­leges and universities, or Virginia students attending out-of-state accredited colleges and universities, the ability to search and apply for paid STEM-related summer internships with Virginia companies. Additionally, it provides Virginia companies with free access to a large statewide pool of qualified students for their summer internship opportunities. Students provide one compre­hensive application that can be reviewed by potentially hundreds of companies throughout the state.

With funding from the commonwealth of Virginia, the VSGC created CSIIP in partnership with Virginia's regional technology councils. The regional technology councils are serving as the programs' conduit to member companies that will register and post internships at the CSIIP online site. Career services offices at Virginia institutions are collaborating with the VSGC to make students aware of CSIIP. The Virginia Manufacturers Association's Dream It. Do It. Virginia network is also collaborating to spread the word about the program.

Mary Sandy, the VSGC director, noted, "CSIIP is a major step to help Virginia companies address their pressing need for STEM work­ers. Internships are an excellent way for students to do early work in their fields and a great way for companies to try out young talent for potential future employment. Students fre­quently tell us how challenging it is to learn about internships and to apply for them, and companies tell us that securing a di­verse pool of qualified applications can be difficult as well. We hope that CSIIP can facilitate making these workforce connec­tions."

Added Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, "A good education is the key to a good job. The Commonwealth STEM Industry Internship Pro­gram will help to prepare our students for the high-quality, high-paying jobs of the future. By better aligning higher education and the business sector, we are working to give every Virginia graduate a path to success. We must continue to develop the pipeline between Vir­ginia's excellent community colleges and uni­versities and the business sector. This program, and programs like it, will enable more Virginia students to engage and learn the much-need­ed skills that so many careers of the 21st cen­tury require."

Companies doing business in Virginia can register and list intern­ships at the CSIIP online site now and are encouraged to do so before Oct. 31. The application process will be opened to stu­dents on Nov. 1. Student applications are due on Jan. 31, 2013, and the application database will be opened to participat­ing companies on Feb. 11, 2013. See www.csiip.spacegrant.org.

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