PITTSBURGH-Urban Innovation21, funded by the Alcoa Foundation and UPMC, will provide internships for college students, recipients of The Pittsburgh Promise scholarship. A kick-off event will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 31, in the Foerster Student Services Center at CCAC Allegheny Campus. Gregory Peaslee, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources & Administrative Services Officer, UPMC, and Julie Caponi, Vice President – Audit, Alcoa, Inc., will offer remarks.
Urban Innovation21 is a public-private partnership that boosts regional economic development through 21st century innovation-driven entrepreneurship. The organization is funded and directed by a consortium of anchor institutions, and has received substantial support from the Heinz Endowments and the Richard King Mellon Foundation. This summer, the organization is placing 22 graduates of Pittsburgh Public Schools, currently attending CCAC, with paid internships in various departments of UPMC and at manufacturing companies throughout the city. The program supports the professional development and employment marketability of students—many of whom are first generation college enrollees.
“It’s not easy for first-year college students to secure paid internships,” said William Generett Jr., president of Urban Innovation21. “That’s why we intercede, and with the support of our funders, we prepare a very tailored internship program that can brighten the professional future of these students.”
Prior to their first day at work, students receive comprehensive pre-internship training. Throughout the summer, Urban Innovation21 staff continues supporting the students to ensure that they complete the internship and receive necessary mentorship.
“Our commitment to the region’s youth extends beyond the Pittsburgh Promise,” said Gregory Peaslee, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources & Administrative Services Officer, UPMC. “These internships will enable high achieving students to gain valuable experience that will help to prepare them for meaningful careers. It is our goal to offer internship experiences that will further motivate these students and help in their understanding of the opportunities ahead and the expectations of employment.”
The interns will also receive sponsorship to attend all summer events organized by the Regional Internship Center. These social gatherings will bring together college students interning in our region to network and share experiences.
According to Saleem Ghubril, executive director of The Pittsburgh Promise, this collaboration among corporations and nonprofits boosts the benefits of The Pittsburgh Promise scholarship by providing additional resources to the students. “One of the strategic goals of The Promise is not only to send our kids to and through college, but to see them return to and be a part of their city’s workforce. This internship opportunity helps us set the stage to complete that circle,” Ghubril said.
Urban Innovation21 also administers a separate internship program with innovation economy companies. The organization is working with a total of 44 interns this summer.