Talent Dividend Work

SOCHE achieves a 7.1 percent increase in available internships

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The 20 by 20 Challenge, an effort to create 20,000 internships by the year 2020 spearheaded by the Southwestern Ohio Consortium on Higher Education (SOCHE), recently hit the one-year mark.
SOCHE started this program with the feeling that internships are a high-impact practice for talent retention and college completion. In this first year they focused on building relationships with educators and employers. They have advocated the 20 by 20 Challenge by talking to rotaries, business associations, and other business groups, and also hosting a CEO luncheon during which the importance of internships for developing and retaining talent in the region was emphasized.
At the end of their first year, they were able to show a 7.1 percent increase in the number of internships available in the area. "We are moving in the right direction," says Sean Creighton, Executive Director of SOCHE. If they continue on this trend, hitting 7.1 percent year over year, they will be on track to hit their 2020 goal. "We're pleased with our progress but we feel there's a lot more than can be done to increase the number of opportunities."
SOCHE assists employers with what Creighton calls "a continuum of services," everything from consulting services to managing employer's programs. "From DIY to turnkey and everything in between, SOCHE is doing everything (for employers)."
Going into year two, SOCHE will focus on aligning students with employer demand in core area industries, including both what is currently in demand and what will be in demand in the future. This includes healthcare and computer science, but also electrical engineering and robotics (a need given the area's strong Air Force presence) and the growing aquaculture industry.

SOCHE also works with a typically underrepresented student population coming from less privileged positions, dealing with different student populations than other organizations. "We understand that the internship piece is a great strategy with proven results. It's the whole academic experience and the support system that makes internships successful for those students."

Writer: Nicole Rupersburg 
Source: Sean Creighton, Executive Director of SOCHE

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