Campus News

Oberlin Receives Grant to Expand Paid Summer Internships

August 29, 2014
Communications Staff

The college has received a $149,938 award from the Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation to fund internships for high- and moderate-need students receiving financial aid. The grant will be effective for summer 2015.

With the Career Ready Internship grant, Oberlin’s Career Center will develop new paid internships and will increase financial resources so that students with demonstrated need will have equal access to career-shaping professional opportunities. The grant will enable Oberlin to collaborate with companies and nonprofit organizations in northeast Ohio and harness the connections with Oberlin alumni and friends of the college to cultivate high-quality internships locally and across the nation.

These new internships will give juniors and seniors with any eligible level of financial need real-world experience within their field of study, and a better chance at competing with their peers for jobs after graduation. The grant will significantly expand summer 2015 internship support for Oberlin students—funding a total of 32 nine- or ten-week internships at $3,600 or $4,000, respectively.

Richard Berman, Oberlin’s Career Center director, says one driving force behind Oberlin’s grant proposal was the Career Center’s experience during the inaugural cycle of a five-year project gift established by the Class of 1965 in Spring 2014, on the occasion of their 50th Reunion year. “The Class of 1965 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Internship Fund, which similarly supports those students otherwise unable to afford the real costs of engaging in high quality but unpaid summer internships, importantly informed the design of the Great Lakes grant proposal,” Berman says.

The Career Center will invite students starting this fall to pursue internships with relevant organizations without limiting their applications to paid positions they see online.

“By working with alumni and faculty, Oberlin will identify high-quality internships. With the grant, we will encourage students in the fall to initiate contacts and actively propose summer internships, being able to share that they have the opportunity to secure full funding through their college,” Berman says. “The latter approach will, hopefully, encourage Oberlin students to be discerning, assertive and proactive in identifying and pursuing positions. And we will offer students coaching on ways to effectively propose internships that will challenge and engage them."

Oberlin is among 40 colleges and universities in Ohio, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin awarded a combined $5.2 million from Great Lakes. Great Lakes is a nonprofit organization focused on helping students nationwide prepare for and succeed in postsecondary education and student loan repayment.

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