Grand Valley reported a record number of students are getting practical experience in the work force, saving employers money and keeping more graduates in Michigan.
Approximately 6,811 experiential education opportunities, which encompasses internships, co-ops, student teaching, and practica, were completed in 2009-10, a 15 percent increase from 2008-09. The economic impact is equal to more than $25 million. The report compiled numbers from the Seidman College of Business, arts and humanities, Kirkhof College of Nursing, social sciences, College of Education and School of Social Work, and science, math and health professions.
Troy Farley, director of Career Services at Grand Valley, attributes the increase to faculty support and a growing interest for local talent. “Employers in West Michigan and beyond are beginning to understand more and more the value of providing internships and co-ops before hiring,” he said. “Another factor is continued faculty encouragement for students to find experience beyond the classroom.”
Rachel Becklin, assistant director of Career Services and internal internship specialist, said the national conversion rate from intern to employee is about 50 percent. “The majority of experiential education experiences take place locally, so the chances of a former intern getting hired in West Michigan increases,” she said. “We’re helping to retain local talent in Michigan, which in turn will aide in building Michigan’s economy.”
Of recent graduates, 88 percent are employed or pursuing advanced degrees. Of those working, 84 percent are employed in Michigan. Grand Valley has also seen a one-year, 18 percent increase in Grand Valley graduates who are working in West Michigan — that number went from 58 percent to 76 percent.
This information was part of a report presented by Career Services to the Grand Valley Board of Trustees April 29.