Developing Talent and Boosting Companies with Ohio’s Diversity & Inclusion Technology Internship Program

a man participates in video conference with coworkers

These internships aren’t just coffee runs and making copies

As a freshman computer science student at Miami University, Emma Gardner was eager to get her career off the ground, but found herself frustrated by the typical path of someone her age. She needed real-world experience that only a legitimate internship or job could provide, especially in an industry where women often struggle to get a foot in the door. And most companies she interacted with weren’t interested in freshmen. But things changed for Gardner when she found the Ohio Department of Development’s Diversity & Inclusion Technology Internship Program.

“I talked to some companies at Miami’s fall career fair, but few were looking for interns who were only in their first year of college,” she said. “The same was true for the spring fair, but, luckily, I saw a booth for the Ohio Department of Development. That’s where I learned about the Diversity & Inclusion Technology Internship Program and submitted my application after I left the fair. It was extremely simple, and I loved that they automatically matched me with companies that were looking for someone like me.”

One of those companies was Miamisburg’s Adyptation, a claims management solutions company that uses machine learning, software and partnerships to help self-funded employers save money on medical and pharmaceutical claims. They weren’t just looking for errand-runners, they were looking for help advancing their technology and achieving their goals, and found that talent in Emma, who began interning for the company that summer.

“We value diversity because we know that it produces a more inclusive, accountable work environment and that a plurality of perspectives and experiences increases our ability to build software solutions that meet the needs of our end users,” said Karen Cornelissen, customer success manager at Adyptation. “We were drawn to the internship program because it facilitates efforts to build diverse and inclusive teams. The program not only saves companies time and resources they would otherwise spend searching for candidates, it also puts them in contact with student professionals from a variety of backgrounds and with a variety of experiences whose skills are a match for the company’s needs.”

By matching companies and interns’ skills, these internships are a major plus to both companies and students. Companies gain an extra set of capable hands at a major cost offset, while students gain real experience working in relevant fields. For Gardner, that meant a more fulfilling and useful internship experience than many of her classmates.

“At the beginning of my internship, I spent the majority of my time learning about important software development concepts and learning React.js, the language in which I would be programming,” she said. “So, from day one, I already knew that I would greatly increase my software engineering knowledge as an intern for Adyptation. After completing some training, I started working with the existing code. I really enjoyed being able to apply what I had learned both in school and from my training. I value expanding my knowledge, but I also appreciate that I’ve been treated more like a peer than just an intern.”

The Diversity & Inclusion Technology Internship Program connects companies with the best and brightest upcoming talent to fill their tech needs. From creating mobile apps, building out websites and developing social media platforms to implementing new software, conducting market research and enhancing cybersecurity, the program can help with virtually any tech need and pay the salary of college interns to keep your business on the move. Companies can hire up to four interns and be reimbursed up to $30,000. The fall 2021 round of applications for the internship opens for companies July 26 through August 13. Students can apply August 16 through December 4. Take it from those who have participated: it’s a program worth pursuing.

“I would highly recommend this internship because of the skilled student professionals, the quick and easy application process for companies and the substantial wage assistance the program provides,” Cornelissen said. “While some internships may boil down to ‘coffee and errands,’ these internships make an impact from the start and can grow into something long-lasting. These students have skills that are in high demand, so companies who haven’t participated are missing out on an opportunity to meet these candidates, recruit them, and then retain them. Emma was valuable to us on day one. She is intelligent, talented and hard-working, and she brings skills and a unique perspective to the team that we highly value. We’re thrilled to have her on board.”

For Gardner, the program has become much more than a few months of work experience. Her time at Adyptation has led to a post-internship job, a new career direction and confidence in her abilities. She now has a boost in the process that others might not have until later in their college careers.

“As I’ve progressed in my coursework and spent more time with Adyptation, my goals have shifted,” she said. “I’ve had the opportunity to discover some topics that interest me and I’ve greatly improved my skills as a software developer. I’m more confident in my skills, and while I obviously want to keep improving, I also love that I have the opportunity to prove myself. I would absolutely recommend the program to others, and I already have! And I’ve found a company that I want to work with even after I graduate, even though I’m an underclassman.”

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