Great Lakes grant provides paid internships for YSU students

Rikki Batson and Sharnita Benson both served internships at the Youngstown YWCA.

For 60 Youngstown State University students, the real world learning experience gained through a paid internship was possible, thanks to a $150,000 Career Ready Internship Grant from the Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation.

The Williamson College of Business Administration received the grant and collaborated with local businesses and nonprofits to develop new paid internships and convert existing unpaid internships into paid opportunities. The funds were used to assist juniors and seniors who, because of financial need, could not afford to accept unpaid internships.

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Thad Mitchell served a Great Lakes internship at the Boys and Girls Club of Youngstown in the spring.

Several students were asked to stat with their host employers in either full-time or part-time positions following their internships.The grant was a collaborative effort involving the Williamson College, the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, the Department of Communication Studies and The News Outlet.

Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation awarded $5.2 million in new grants to 40 colleges and universities in four states to help students with financial need receive the benefits of paid internships during the 2014-2015 academic year.

In the 2013-14 academic year, Great Lakes tested the idea of a grant to fund internships with a $2.5 million commitment to 19 Wisconsin colleges and universities, then expanded the effort in 2014-15 to include colleges in Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, and Ohio, including YSU.

“This grant funding provided a tremendous opportunity to YSU students with financial need to have a paid internship,” said Laura Dewberry, Great Lakes grant administrator. “It also allows employers in the Mahoning Valley to host a YSU student as an intern for the first time or offer a paid internship when they were previously unable.”