Vermont is a wonderfully unique place; we’re reminded of this every time we step out of our doors and take in a sight of the Green Mountains, of our expansive Lake Champlain, or 30 inches of fresh powder in March. Most of us who have chosen to call Vermont our home understand these things, both in their beauty and in their challenges. But what has become apparent in the past few years is that the people who have chosen to call our unique landscape home have been pushing the demographics of our state higher. In more ways than one, Vermont’s present (and future) workforce is getting older.
Yet while our demographics show an aging population, Vermont has more than 30,000 students enrolled in our 23 institutions of higher education at any given time. Many of the employers state there is a challenge in finding top quality talent to fill vacant or nascent positions, while at the same time, many college and university students see a dearth of opportunity within the state. Very clearly there is both demand for, and supply of, talent in our state. The challenge, then, is to help this labor market reach equilibrium; that is, to pair eager young talent with companies that have immediate and real needs for intelligent, trainable employees.
In an effort to help bridge this gap, the Vermont Technology Council is proud to usher in the start of the second year of their Statewide Internship Program. The program partners with organizations across the state to develop communication and placement between higher education students and employers. Students are presented the opportunity to get in-company training that develops skills and the experience to hit the job market upon graduation, and employers benefit from access to motivated, intelligent students looking to match their education with the needs of Vermont businesses.
The Vermont Technology Council has recognized that pairing current students with future employers gives both parties a competitive advantage in their respective goals. The internships being developed are meant to best simulate the demands and rigors of the post-graduate world. The summer internships are paid positions that create necessary buy-in from businesses, while creating a higher expectation of added value from each student. Developing this pipeline of talent not only provides a framework for future business success within Vermont, but by exposing students to the opportunities already here, there is great potential to retain and develop a higher number of young professionals.
Any business that employs technology in their operations is encouraged to create an internship; positions may focus on any aspect of the operation, including sales, engineering, marketing, etc. The pool of eligible interns includes any student in a Vermont institution, as well as Vermont students in out of state colleges and universities. In an effort to support employers and to make the process as simple as possible, the Vermont Technology Council has appointed Michele Ferland Kupersmith as the Program Director. Ms. Kupersmith can aid in all phases of the internship development and marketing, and acts as a liaison between employers, partner organizations, and economic development organizations.
For more information, the Vermont Technology Council’s Statewide Internship Program can be found online at: http://www.vttechcouncil.org/internships.html.