PITTSBURGH, July 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Urban Innovation21 announces the largest and most diverse innovation economy based internship program in the region. Having placed 45 interns just this summer, the organization anticipates providing 80 paid internship opportunities this calendar year. This initiative provides students from Carlow University, Community College of Allegheny County, Duquesne University and Point Park University with work experience, helping young professionals to find opportunities within our region.
As a public-private partnership, Urban Innovation21 boosts regional economic development through 21st century innovation-driven entrepreneurship. Its flagship program is the Pittsburgh Central Keystone Innovation Zone, which offers a variety of incentives to promote the growth of startup clusters in underserved communities. The organization is funded by a consortium of anchor institutions, the PA Department of Community and Economic Development, and has received substantial support from the Heinz Endowments, the Richard King Mellon Foundation, the Alcoa Foundation, and most recently, it attracted funding from the Surdna Foundation.
“This internship program engages a broad range of students in Pittsburgh’s innovation economy,” said Stephen Schillo, chairman of Urban Innovation21’s board and vice president for management and business at Duquesne University. “Not only does this experience improve students’ immediate employment marketability but it also expands their professional networks giving them the opportunity to participate in our region’s tech-based growth throughout their careers.”
Urban Innovation21’s effort to create opportunities for minorities within the local innovation economy is reflected in this internship program. Approximately half of the interns are African American students and 60 percent are women.
“Inclusivity is at the core of all of our programs,” said William Generett Jr., president of Urban Innovation21.
Within its internship program, Urban Innovation21 has a targeted initiative for students who receive the Pittsburgh Promise Scholarship and are currently attending CCAC. This summer, this group of students has been matched with paid internships in various departments of UPMC and at select manufacturing companies throughout the city. The program supports the professional development of students — many of whom are first generation college enrollees. This specific initiative is funded by the Alcoa Foundation and UPMC.
“It’s not easy for first-year college students to secure paid internships,” Generett explained. “That’s why we intercede, and with the support of our funders, we prepared a very tailored internship program that can brighten the professional future of these students.”
A celebratory event to conclude the internship assignment of this group of interns is scheduled for Wednesday, August 1, at 5:30 p.m. in the Elsie H. Hillman Auditorium at the Kaufmann Center (1825 Centre Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15219).
Urban Innovation21 Partners and Supporters: Alcoa Foundation, Allegheny County Department of Economic Development, Carlow University, Community College of Allegheny County, Duquesne University, the Heinz Endowments, Hill House Economic Development Corporation, Idea Foundry, Innovation Works, PNC Bank, Point Park University, Richard King Mellon Foundation, Surdna Foundation, UPMC Health Plan and the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh
SOURCE Urban Innovation21