New program to provide more internship opportunities for Wright State engineering and computer science students

Wright State’s College of Engineering and Computer Science celebrated its new Work Forward Internship Program with a signing ceremony with its corporate partners in the Russ Engineering Center.

Internships for Wright State University engineering and computer science majors will be more easily identified and more plentiful thanks to the new Work Forward Internship Program.

The internship program provides opportunities for students in Wright State’s College of Engineering and Computer Science to gain valuable work experiences with corporate partners while being paid.

“We’ve always had good community relations with our industry partners, and they’ve always provided internships for our students,” said Darryl Ahner, Ph.D., dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science. “This Work Forward Internship Program more formalizes the relationships with our community partners and allows us to expand upon them.”

Ahner said many other universities offer internships through co-ops, but those typically add an extra year to a student’s academic calendar.

“Work Forward still allows our students to graduate in four years while giving them similar experience with working from their education foundation to allow them to be workforce-ready upon graduation,” he said.

The program will also give the college a clearer idea of where its students are interning, and students will have better visibility of where internships are, in some cases providing the ability to participate in multiple internships over their time at Wright State.

“They’ll be able to explore industries and become better informed upon graduation of what jobs are available,” Ahner said.

The Work Forward Internship Program benefits Wright State’s corporate partners because they get to know the university’s students better, creating a workforce pipeline.

“There’s a huge demand for engineers and computer scientists in the region,” Ahner said, fueled by Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, its defense contractors and local non-defense companies.

Ahner said Work Forward meets Wright State University President Sue Edwards’ priorities of recruitment, retention and relationships.

“This supports recruiting students because they know there’s a pathway to success when they’re here,” he said. “Through internships, they see the relevance to what they’re studying, and we continue to build strong partnerships with regional employers.”

The initial Work Forward Internship Program partners are Copeland, Leidos, Marque Engineering, MSI Lab, National Engineering, NexSens, Radiance Technologies, Reynolds and Reynolds and Winsupply.

Of the corporate participants that signed on to Work Forward, Ahner said, “That’s just the beginning. We hope to expand well beyond that.”

Work Forward is operated by the College of Engineering and Computer Science, Career Services and University Advancement.

The College of Engineering and Computer Science celebrated the new program with a signing ceremony with its corporate partners on May 15 in the Russ Engineering Center.

“Wright State continues to impress by their engagement with local businesses in the Dayton area,” said Karl Walli, Ph.D., executive vice president of the national security sector at Radiance Technologies. “The Work Forward Internship Program takes this to a higher level by engaging with willing companies, like Radiance, to elevate their internship program to better facilitate student knowledge of opportunities in the local area and advertising metrics for the chance of full-time employment with these companies after graduation.”

“Reynolds and Reynolds has long valued internships as a way for students to gain true workplace experience in their field of study while also providing an opportunity to identify students who could excel in a full-time career with Reynolds after graduation,” said Scott Barr, senior vice president of software development for Reynolds and Reynolds. “Over the years, we have had many Wright State students move from summer interns to successful full-time associates. Therefore, formalizing our intern relationship with Wright State made perfect sense.”

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