Grand Valley sees growth in engineering and computing internships in West Michigan

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Grand Valley has seen an increase in the demand for student engineering and computing internships and co-ops in West Michigan. The number of internships for engineering students increased by 42 percent in 2010, and computing and information systems co-ops increased by 31 percent, compared to 2009.

Paul Plotkowski, dean of the Padnos College of Engineering and Computing, said one reason may be the recovering economy in West Michigan. “Roughly 40 percent of our engineering and computing students come from West Michigan and about 70 percent of them stay in the area, so we are retaining talent in the region,” he said.

Grand Valley President Thomas J. Haas said, “Ninety-two percent of our [Grand Valley] recent graduates are employed or attending graduate school; of those working, 88 percent are pursuing their careers here in Michigan.”

According to Career Services at Grand Valley, growing industries in West Michigan such as automotive suppliers, health care, software development and electronics are hiring more Grand Valley students for internships and co-ops. “Employers are recognizing the value in internships, more so than they did before,” said Tom Demmon, associate director of Career Services. “Now, instead of large corporations hiring 10-20 interns, it has become common for more small to mid-sized companies to hire one to five interns.”

Grand Valley engineering and computing students are required to complete external internships or co-ops before graduation. “We take pride in preparing our students for the workforce through community involvement, career resources, and continually evolving our programs as needed,” Plotkowski said.

Downloadable audio:

- Paul Plotkowski explains why Grand Valley graduates are being sought after by local empoyers (audio).

- Plotkowski says high-skilled jobs like engineering are in demand (audio).

- Plotkowski says co-ops or internships are valuable because employers want to hire someone with prior experience (audio).