More firms want College of Coastal Georgia interns than there are students available to fill needs

From the The Brunswick News

While college internships are typically considered to be for the benefit of students, managers of some companies in the Golden Isles say they are getting just as much out of the program.

College of Coastal Georgia requires each student in every bachelor's degree program to complete an internship, but there are more business hosts signed up for the program than students available.

Since the beginning of the internship requirement in 2009, about 55 businesses have hosted interns in the college's business degree program alone.

That's because some businesses say the internship program gives them the opportunity to have students with relevant knowledge fresh in their minds work on unique projects they otherwise might not be able to accomplish.

Wonduante Ayalew, a student studying health informatics at the college, is about to begin one of those projects. He'll be completing research for Southeast Georgia Health System's Orthopedic and Spine Center and working on patient data extraction for joint replacement patients.

The work will be valuable. "It helps other people to make important decisions," Ayalew said.

Pamela Gass, a registered nurse and director of sports medicine at the center, expects his knowledge will help move the research process forward.

"It's very manual and problem prone. He's going to help make that more seamless," Gass said.

Liz Bruno, director of organizational development at the health system, says the health system and Ayalew will mutually benefit from the project.

"The interns are very energetic, and we get a fresh, younger perspective from them," Bruno said. "They have new ideas they share with us, and we share our specific subject matter expertise, as well as organizational and historical knowledge with them."

Pinova, a rosins manufacturer, also plans to host students from the college. An intern from the Georgia Institute of Technology helped implement a new packaging process for the plant, which produces ingredients commonly used in consumer products.

Pat Grozier, vice president of Pinova, expects interns from College of Coastal Georgia will leave the same legacy as the Georgia Tech intern.

"We don't just have folks in non-thinking jobs," he said. "They're doing things that are really important and can help the process. We will have more interns in 2013, for sure."

The goal of the intern is education, said Skip Mounts, dean of the college's School of Business and Public Affairs. To him, internships are just as much of a part of a student's education as class time.

"It could be like a 16-week interview," Mounts said. "It's a good way for a host to ask the question, 'Would we like to hire this person?'"

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Release Date: 2/5/2013
Source: The Brunswick News

By NIKKI WILEY