Internships are an integral part of the educational path for students at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. They are just one of the reasons nearly 70% of UWO students secure a paid or volunteer position before they graduate.
Across the University of Wisconsin System, campuses stress the importance of high-impact practices like internships, undergraduate research, study abroad and capstone projects.
“The UW System is already a leader in providing internship opportunities to students,” said Drew Petersen, UW System Regents president. “I want to enhance these programs so that even more students have internship opportunities.”
According to the National Survey of Student Engagement, which publishes its data every three years, the percentage of college seniors who participated in an internship or other work experience at UW System institutions in 2017 was 56 percent, nearly 10 points higher than the national average of 47%. In fact, the UW System has consistently outperformed the national average for seniors who participated in an internship, co-op, field experience, student teaching or clinical placement since 2008.
“Internships help students gain experience and develop the skills they need to become more marketable when they graduate,” said Jaime Page-Stadler, director of Career and Professional Development at UW Oshkosh. “Many employers require prospective employees to have that experience to qualify for entry level positions.”
Internships also help students determine if the company is a good fit, she said.
“Most students are unaware of the work environment and an internship gives them a snapshot of that experience,” Page-Stadler said. “The more internships a student has, the more comparison they can do of what fits best for them.”
Internships have consistently led to job success for UW Oshkosh College of Business graduates. According to the 2017-2018 First Destinations data, 41% of business graduates that year received a job offer as a result of an internship. Internships also helped more than one in four College of Nursing graduates secure a job offer.
This spring, thousands of UW System graduates finished their studies and are now being infused throughout the Wisconsin workforce. Due in part to the internship opportunities encouraged and facilitated through their campuses, this recent crop of graduates is imminently prepared to enter the workforce with many having found jobs even prior to graduation.
UW Oshkosh graduate Tyrone Moore Jr. found a teaching position prior to graduating with licensure in grades K-8 education.
“Through hard work and dedication, I was able to fulfill my dream of becoming a teacher,” he said. “I secured a job before I graduated from UW Oshkosh and was placed at Milwaukee Excellence Charter School.”
Alex Kelly secured a teaching job with a kinesiology degree from UWO and simultaneously finished his post-baccalaureate licensure to become a certified teacher. He works at the Milwaukee Academy of Science.
The Student Titan Employment Program at UW Oshkosh provides meaningful employment opportunities right on campus. STEP positions are paid internships that allow students to gain experience while fitting work hours around their class schedules.
This preparation doesn’t just benefit the students, however. Internships are the ultimate win-win scenario for students and employers. Throughout Wisconsin, employers like Menards, Skyward, Oshkosh Corp., Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and more partner with UW System campuses year-round to find their next generation of workers.
“Internships and other work experience help both students and employers,” said UW System President Ray Cross. “It’s another example of how the UW System is meeting the needs of Wisconsin.”