“We just want to make sure that employers know it can help to build the next generation of workforce,” Barlow said. “A good number of our students who were in our internship program last year were hired by the same company following graduation.”
The program funded through a $166,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Education and Workforce, which pays for 100% of the student’s salary if they work over 200 hours. The student applies through SOCHE and the nonprofit connects the student and the company.
Ohio has over 400,000 people working in technology roles, SOCHE said, and the industry is expected to continue to grow. The positions pay at least $50,000 per year, with some reaching above $150,000.
SOCHE is looking for more companies with whom to partner students. They are working through Technology First, Dayton Regional Manufacturers Association, Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association, Dayton Area Logistics Association, and other trade associations to inform companies of the opportunity, Barlow said.
Barlow said students can earn up to $5,000 through the grant, which could go toward a car, to further education or to help with family expenses.
“That’s a nice chunk of change for students to earn while they’re getting to try out something real,” Barlow said. “They’re in a real work environment, doing a real job. They have a real job description, and they’re getting some great experience.”
The students who have gone through the experience say it is a good opportunity for learning.
Bryson Sublett-Gordon, one of the students who went through SOCHE for an internship last year, said he had a good experience over the summer and has now been recommending it to students who are at Greene County Career Center, where he attends high school.
“I’ve been trying to convince most everybody in the lab to apply,” he said.
He said as someone with an interest in cybersecurity, the SOCHE opportunity felt like “a great opportunity.”
Olivia Hooten, now a freshman at the University of Dayton majoring in industrial engineering technology, said her experience as an intern at Wright Brothers Institute through SOCHE inspired her to change her major.
“It showed me other opportunities that I didn’t know existed within engineering, which caused me to in turn change my major,” she said. “I love the major I’m in now more than I love the one I was going to be in before.”