September 26, 2014 | 8 a.m.
By Michelle Westlund, Communications Specialist
Bethel University was awarded a $50,946 Career Ready Internship grant from Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation for the 2014-2015 academic year. The grant will be used to create new, paid internship opportunities—that would otherwise be unpaid—for junior and senior psychology majors with financial need. An internship is a critical part of Bethel’s psychology major, and while high-quality local internship opportunities exist, most are unpaid. “This grant gives powerful incentives to collaborate with businesses and nonprofit organizations to develop new internship opportunities,” says Laura Harville, former Bethel Foundations Relations Officer. “This will move students closer to future career goals and allow students with financial need to benefit more fully from internships in their field of study without sacrificing pay they would have received in a non-career-related job.”
Using the psychology department as a pilot, Bethel’s Office of Career Development and Calling hopes to expand the number of paid internship opportunities available to other majors in future years. “We are optimistic that this will encourage a growing number of collaborations as employers recognize the value of educating and energizing men and women for leadership, scholarship, and service while effectively meeting their organizations' missions,” says Dave Broza, Bethel’s director of career development and calling.
Great Lakes Career Ready Internship grants totaling $5.2 million were awarded to 40 colleges and universities across Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin for the 2014-2015 academic year. These new grants expand on a successful pilot at 19 Wisconsin colleges in 2013-2014, in which 98% of interns either re-enrolled the next semester or graduated. This year, a total of 2,235 students receiving financial aid will gain professional experience through internships funded by the grants, part of Great Lakes’ commitment to helping more students benefit from their investment in higher education and graduate ready to reach their full potential.
“Our Career Ready Internship grants provide college students real-world experience in their fields of study, and a better chance at competing for jobs after graduation,” says Richard D. George, Great Lakes’ president and CEO. “This program has the added benefit of developing relationships of lasting value between colleges and employers. We look forward to seeing the impact Bethel University can have on helping more students graduate ready for success in the workforce.”