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Connecting Students to the Labor Market: The Talent Development Network

How can we better connect higher education to employers to the benefit of students, businesses and the city?

Innovation Challenge Pitchers 2014

USU put that question to its members. With a grant from Lumina Foundation, we held an innovation pitch session in November, 2014.  Eleven universities pitched eleven approached. They were all excellent. We’ll be featuring them over the coming months. Join us for the journey.

First Stop:  Southern Florida In South Florida, academic institutions, economic development agencies, non-profit and industry partners have come together to create the Talent Development Network. Its purpose: develop and retain talent regionally and create a regional internship culture that aligns curricula to employers’ needs and facilitates later job placement for students.

What are the key features of the program?

  1. Student career preparation through paid internship in growth industries

  2. Educational modules and curricula developed hand-in-hand with employers

  3. Opportunites to build out student professions networks

  4. Data collection and evaluation to assess success, drive continuous improvement, and enable replication to other places.

Who are the stakeholders?

Education: Barry University, Florida International University, Florida Memorial University, Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Miami Dade College, St. Thomas University and the University of Miami.

Business: American Airlines, Baptist Health South Florida, Beacon Council (Miami-Dade’s economic development agency), Dosal Tobacco Corporation and the Greater Miami Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.

Foundations: The Helios Education Foundation, Miami Foundation, Peacock Foundation, and the Shaffer Family.

Since the pitch, how have they moved forward?

  1. Research analyst is developing baseline metrics to measure program success.

  2. Website for employers to register and post paid internships launched

  3. Logo and marketing brand developed

  4. Selected as a finalist for the Knight Cities Challenge Grant

Are you doing something similar? Tell us about it? What other examples of universities better connecting to the labor market can you share?


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