According to a 2019 student survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, more than half of all students who completed an internship received a job offer within six months of graduation. To facilitate these opportunities for a greater number of students, Niagara University’s Office of Career Services is enhancing its innovative Pathways Program to guarantee internships for participants and to provide stipends to students whose internships are unpaid.
The Pathways Program is a holistic, four-step approach to career and professional development that builds confidence through experiential learning, resume preparation, mock interviewing, internship placement, and more. By guaranteeing participating students an internship or other professional experience, and offering them a $1,500 stipend for an unpaid, credit-bearing internship, NU is increasing access to these crucial, career-building opportunities for all students.
“Education by experience is as important as the academic rigors of the classroom,” said the Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., Niagara University president. “This new initiative will facilitate additional opportunities for our students to seamlessly apply what they are learning in the classroom to hands-on work in their chosen fields, while refining their career focus, developing the soft skills they need to be leaders in their professions, and building their professional network. Often, however, internships are unpaid. Making stipends available will enable a greater number of our students to take advantage of these important, real-world experiences.”
Beginning in the summer of 2021, qualified juniors or seniors who are part of the Pathways Program and meet eligibility requirements may apply for one $1,500 stipend during their undergraduate studies to offset the cost of one internship. Niagara University students have completed internships with numerous organizations, regionally, nationally, and internationally, including Aspire of WNY, the Buffalo Bills, the New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation, Catholic Health System of Buffalo, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, M&T Bank, the American Cancer Society, IBM, Carnival Cruise Lines, CBS, Citigroup, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., Deloitte Touche, Disney, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Goya Foods Inc. Opportunities such as these have enabled the Office of Career Services to maintain a 97% job and graduate school placement rate within six months of graduation.
“I have talked to thousands of students and parents over the past 15 years at campus open houses and campus day visits,” said Robert Murphy, executive vice president and dean of admissions, “and it has become very obvious to me that two of the most compelling issues a parent has on their mind about college when they visit are what will happen to their son or daughter after they graduate, and how will they develop professional clarity about what they want to do. Offering a robust internship program with guaranteed internships will help our students to gain the skills they need to obtain meaningful employment after graduation. Making a stipend available will enable students who need to work during the summer to engage in internships whether they are paid or unpaid.”