Career Center Awarded Grant to Fund Students Pursuing Internships

Molly Brand

The College recently received $149,938 in grant money from the Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation — funding which the Career Center will use to increase the College’s number of paid internships.

The money, which will be allocated to applicants of high and moderate need, will fund 32 internships in its first year, during the summer of 2015. Participants will receive either $3,600 for a 9-week internship or $4,000 for a 10-week internship in the form of a $10 per hour wage for a 40-hour work week.

Although there will be an opportunity to renew the funding for a second year, Career Center Director Richard Berman said he is unsure whether there is a possibility of extending it further.

The grant, aside from offering students a chance to participate in paid internships provided by the College, will also allow applicants to gain funding for internships that they discover on their own. In previous years, the Career Center has allocated only $10,000– $20,000 in funding toward such internships. This year, the center will reserve five spots for students who have not yet been accepted to an internship, but who wish to gain funding once they are accepted.

According to Berman, while some of the funding will serve to offset the College’s expenses, $125,000 will be allocated directly for student use.

In terms of creating new internships, the Career Center has developed several techniques wherein administrators and other College leaders will work together to create new internship opportunities. Faculty members will also work to provide internships, either via programs that the faculty members themselves have created, or outside programs to which administrators can serve as liaisons.

“High quality is [in] the interest of everybody involved in this,” said Berman. “Unfor- tunately, there are too many internships that don’t sufficiently challenge and utilize Ober- lin students.” He added that College President Marvin Krislov received a general announce- ment about Great Lakes’s internship program and “immediately brought it to [Berman’s] attention.”

Berman said he was inspired to pursue this grant in part by the creation of the Class of 1965 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Internship Fund, which comprises a sum of $250,000 to be distributed over five years and which sponsored its first interns this past summer. Prior to the establishment of the Class of 1965 Internship Fund, the Career Center has made approximately $10,000 to $25,000 available for supporting students in pursuing unpaid career experiences.

Taiyo Scanlon-Kimura, a senior Politics and East Asian Studies major, was one of the recipients of funding from the Class of 1965

Internship Fund and spent the summer as an intern for the Edwin O. Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies in Washington, D.C. Scanlon-Kimura, who is from Columbus, Ohio, said that he had spent his two previous summers living at home and working to save money.

“[I] was determined to not be at home and to be financially stable,” said Scanlon-Kimura. While many administrators and applicants will select specific internship opportunities, a large bloc of internships will be arranged through a partnership between Oberlin and the Greater Cleveland Partnership. Berman plans to establish 10 to 15 internships with member organizations of the partnership.

According to Berman, one of the major incentives for the Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation is to aid students in securing future employment, which will be instrumental in their ability to pay back their student loans.