WEDC, UW System develop tool to help companies build internship programs

Talent Generator provides video tutorials, online resources

Bascom Hall
UW-Madison

Last updated on March 17th, 2020 at 01:36 pm

The University of Wisconsin System and Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. have created a new online tool to assist small- and mid-sized companies in building internship programs.

UW System and WEDC announced this week the launch of Talent Generator, an online platform that provides the building blocks for companies interested in hiring interns, including internship basics, legal requirements, best practices and keys to supervising interns. The tool, which is built on the UW Extended Campus online learning platform, offers video tutorials and operates similarly to an online class.

Talent Generator is aimed at helping smaller companies that might not know where to begin when it comes to building internship programs.

WEDC Secretary Missy Hughes said the tool is a response to requests from businesses for those types of resources.

“Businesses told us it would be useful to have a primer on internships to help ensure successful outcomes for both hiring managers and mentors, and for the students involved,” Hughes said. “Small and medium-sized firms, typically the fastest growing segment of our state economy, often run very lean and may not have the capacity to launch these types of learning experiences. This innovative resource helps reduce some of the barriers to tapping the student talent pipeline in Wisconsin.”

UW System President Cross said internships are a way to retain more graduates from state colleges and universities in a time when the state is facing a growing worker shortage.

“Our goal with the Talent Generator is to increase the odds every student in the state’s largest talent pipeline—the UW System—has an opportunity to secure an internship,” Cross said. “We know every time a student secures an internship with a Wisconsin employer, the likelihood of them staying here increases.”

Several Wisconsin companies with existing internships programs, including ProHealth Care, American Family Insurance, Royal Credit Union and Market & Johnson, contributed to the new tool.

Cross said Talent Generator ties into a larger UW System goal of providing every student with two “high-impact learning practices” as part of their studies, including internships, co-ops and other work-based learning opportunities.

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