College to Use State Department of Labor Funding to Hire Part-Time Internship Broker

MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. – With funding provided by a recent New York State Department of Labor grant, SUNY Orange plans to expand its student internship program over the next academic year in order to provide students with greater access to the “on-the job” training and experience that employers look for during the hiring process.

The College has received $36,376 from the “Brokering Student Internship Opportunities” grant program directed by the state’s Workforce Development and Training division. The grant, a one-year contract that is renewable for up to three years in total, will allow SUNY Orange to hire a part-time internship broker whose chief responsibilities will be to cultivate new paid internship opportunities and to monitor students’ progress once they’ve been assigned to an internship site.

With this grant program, the Department of Labor hopes to encourage future graduates to stay and work in New York State by matching students looking for meaningful work experiences with employers seeking to create a reliable pipeline of future employees. SUNY Orange will begin its contract with the Department of Labor on Sept. 1.

“We are trying to build our internship program and receiving this grant will help us get the word out to the business community,” says Petra Wege-Beers, director of Career and Internship Services at SUNY Orange. “It’s important to place students in internship experiences. They benefit from learning the skills of the job and they see first-hand what is expected of them in a particular workplace. In addition, it allows them to begin networking with professionals and building a set of contacts that they may rely upon when they are looking for a job.”

At present, the College places approximately 60 students annually in an array of paid and unpaid internships throughout Orange County. Wege-Beers says she’s hopeful of increasing that number by at least 25 during the first year of the grant. Students from SUNY Orange’s arts and communication, office technologies, and business management departments occupy the bulk of the existing internship openings but the College is looking to expand its reach into a variety of areas, including accounting, applied technologies and human services.

“Many internships do develop into full-time job opportunities,” Wege-Beers adds. “Employers can ‘try out’ the students while the students are learning. Students who take advantage of internship opportunities practice and acquire the necessary communication, analytical and problem-solving skills that are beneficial to becoming a successful and productive employee.”

Wege-Beers explains two side effects of expanding the internship scope: the interaction between students, College staff and businesses helps invigorate the College’s academic curriculum by keeping it connected with current trends; and a dedicated internship supervisor will allow her to concentrate her efforts on bolstering the College’s career services programming, which is another integral service the College provides to those students seeking immediate employment upon graduation.

The Career and Internships Services office assists SUNY Orange students and alumni with career assessment and exploration as well as career decision-making skills. The office provides job search assistance in the form of resume reviews as well as interviewing and networking tips. Additionally, the College maintains up-to-date full-time and part-time job postings, which are often not available through newspaper help wanted ads or placement agencies.

The office conducts a variety of career workshops for students and community members throughout the school year and hosts an annual Job Fair each April that attracts upwards of 90 local employers. Career counseling services are available by appointment.

For more information on the College’s Career and Internship Services programs, contact Wege-Beers at (845) 341-4087.

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Mike Albright
Communications Officer
115 South Street
Middletown, NY 10940