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UT, Digerati launch free, statewide student/business matching program

Internships for college students can be a hit or miss proposition. A successful match may lead to a job and a career. An unsuccessful match may find the student bored and the business dissatisfied and hesitant to hire interns in the future.

intern ohioFor the last month, University of Toledo students have been able to pre-register for a new program called Intern in Ohio, which uses advanced matching algorithm technology to connect students — even those who might look similar to each other on paper — with internship opportunities tailored to their needs, strengths and interests. Think the career placement and economic development version of eHarmony.

UT has partnered with Detroit-based Digerati to provide this free service to all college students and all businesses and organizations throughout the state and will announce its launch Monday, March 18, at 10 a.m. in the northeast corner of Memorial Field House.

“Experiential learning has never been more important for today’s college students to gain that valuable experience and be ready for opportunities after graduation,” said Dr. Scott Scarborough, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.

“The University of Toledo is proud to bring this program to Ohio to not only connect students to great internship opportunities, but also to do what we can to retain our best and brightest in the Buckeye State and reduce the so-called ‘brain drain’ of young people moving away after graduation for career opportunities elsewhere.”

To register, students and businesses visit interninohio.com to sign up, create a profile or post internship opportunities. Both are asked to answer a short series of questions about the position and about their personal preferences, and then the system identifies the top seven matches for each individual student as well as to the business for each position.

When a match is made, the employer and the student are notified, and both must select that they are interested before any contact information is shared.

Research has shown that not only do internships often lead to offers of full-time employment upon graduation, but that students are likely to remain in the area where they completed an internship.

“Based on a similar program in Michigan, we’ve found that 70 percent of students who have internships are offered jobs at those companies,” said Brian Balasia, CEO of Digerati. “And when you consider not all of those students were seniors, the stat becomes even more impressive.”

The successful Intern in Michigan pilot program resulted in more than 127,000 matches and introductions between students and employers. There have been 4,824 internship opportunities in the system from 1,256 Michigan businesses. On the academic side, 1,049 universities, colleges and schools and nearly 19,000 internship-seekers have registered.

“The beauty of this is that it’s not just a UT or a Toledo initiative; it is a statewide opportunity,” said Lawrence J. Burns, UT vice president for external affairs. “Intern in Ohio is an economic engine that will in many cases make seamless the transition from in-class learning to hands-on learning to employment at an Ohio business or organization.”