Urban Innovation21 prepares college students for work world

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WHAT AN EXPERIENCE—Ivan Franklin a CCAC student describes his intern experience as great and rewarding as fellow interns look on.

Most high school graduates attend college with the goal to study hard, to successfully graduate and to obtain meaningful employment in their field of interest. As ways to prepare and assist area college students achieve their goal and quest for employment, Urban Innovation21 for the past five years has been providing paid internships to students attending Carlow University, Community College of Allegheny County, Duquesne University, and Point Park University.

Labeled as the largest and most diverse innovation economy based internship program in the region, Urban Innovation21 officials say the Internship Program aims to provide students with “real life” work experience, expands their professional networks, and increases their employment marketability. “This experience strengthens the interns’ likelihood of securing appropriate employment in our region,” said Alyssa Boehringer, Program Manager for Internship Programs at Urban Innovation21.  

“Keep up the good work. You are living in a city with great opportunity. This is a good time in the County,” said Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald during a celebratory event for the conclusion of the internship assignments for the summer 2013 Pittsburgh Promise interns. “Keep doing what you are doing and you can look forward to good jobs in the future.”

With the goal to provide paid internships for Pittsburgh Promise students in 2013, during his remarks, William Generett, president and CEO of Innovation21 said, “As one of our region’s leading public-private partnerships, Urban Innovation21 works to build our regions innovation sectors while simultaneously working to connect women and minorities to those sectors.” He pointed out that 69 students with paid internships were placed this summer. Sixteen students were placed with UPMC affiliates, 24 with advanced manufacturing companies, 26 with technology companies, and three with community based organizations.

“Urban Innovation21’s effort to create opportunities for all within the local innovation economy is reflected in this internship program. I am heartened to see the diversity of the interns (approximately half of Urban Innovation21’s interns are African-American students and 60 percent are women) reflects the wonderful diversity present in our schools,” said Saleem Ghubril, executive director of The Pittsburgh Promise.

Generett identified the Summer 2013 partners and funders as the Alcoa Foundation, Catalyst Connection, Community College of Allegheny County Office of Specialized Programs and CCAC Educational Foundation, the Hillman Foundation, Pittsburgh Promise Office, Richard King Mellon Foundation, Roy A. Hunt Foundation, The Heinz Endowments and UPMC.

Students in the 12-week internship program considered their experiences as rewarding. “It was a great experience and I learned a lot,” said Ivan Franklin. “It opened my eyes about the work world and my field of interest.” Franklin, a CCAC student, interned at The Techs, a division of Steel Dynamics Inc.

Keynote speaker of the Internship Program for the Pittsburgh Promise Concluding Event, Bill Strickland, president and CEO of Manchester Bidwell Corporation advised the interns to continue their education as they pursue their careers. “Continue on to get your bachelors, masters and PhD’s. You have your best years ahead of you. Make the best of them. The best you can do is excel,” he said.

Strickland also pointed out to the group that they now are symbols to the younger generation. “Kids under you need role models. It is up to you to become the next politicians, motivational speakers or technicians. You have to give them something to strive for.”

Enforcing his belief that everyone has the potential for remarkable achievement, Strickland encouraged the students to confront their fears, to continue to take advantage of opportunities presented to them and to work to be the best that they can be.

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WE GOT YOUR BACK—Scott Hudson, Roslynne Wilson, Saleem Ghubril, Bill Strickland, Bill Generett, Margaret McLaughlin, Scott Lammie, and Alan Seadler officials involved with the Internship Program For Pittsburgh Promise Scholars are surrounded by the 2013 interns. (Photos by Diane Daniels)

Other participants in the program included Scott Hudson, Senior Manager of Global Initiatives and Program Development and Scott Lammie, Urban Innovation21Board Chairman and Senior Vice President of UPMC Insurance Services Division and CFO, UPMC Health Plan.
Urban Innovation 21, based in the Hill District is defined as a public-private partnership that boosts regional economic development through 21st century innovation-driven entrepreneurship.  

Its mission states that Urban Innovation21 is keenly concerned with the stagnation of local communities in contrast to the rapidly changing global market. We believe that a successful innovation economy can drive economic growth, but lasting regional progress happens when all communities are connected to wealth generators. Our work and our programs vary in scope and depth in order to effectively fulfill needs with smart solutions.

 

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