PAWS Program connects students with industry

Penn State DuBois is partnering with area businesses to help students get real-world experience in their desired field, while filling a need for companies who need quality employees.  The Partnering Academics and Workplace Learning for Success, or PAWS Program, is managed by the campus Student Affairs Office. It gives students professional development and internship opportunities to gain knowledge and hands-on experience while earning their degree. In some cases, it may even lead to long-term employment for the student with the company where they complete their internship. 

Students can be accepted into the PAWS program as early as their first year on campus. The PAWS program will pair a student with an employer in their field. They then have the opportunity to work in a paid internship for up to three years of their time here at the campus. If granted the internship, they'll work with a company for 10-15 hours per week during the semester, and for up to 40 hours per week in the summer. 

While in the program, students also will take part in workshops, seminars and many professional development events presented by Penn State DuBois Career Services and expert guests to sharpen their skill set and add to their overall experience.

GKN Sinter Metals of DuBois was the first area company to participate in the PAWS program as an industry partner. The company welcomed general engineering student William Tett, of Penfield, as its intern. 

"GKN Sinter Metals was delighted to be the first employer to participate in the PAWS program at the Penn State DuBois campus," said GKN Human Resources Director Dave Brennan. The program has been very rewarding from the GKN standpoint and our student PAWS member is contributing to our business on a regular basis. The program also is a way to build a relationship with students who we hope, after graduation, will become full time GKN employees."

As a fulltime student with a busy schedule, Tett appreciated the individualized structuring the program provides its participants.  He said, "I am glad there is a program to assist students in finding internships with employers that are willing to work with our schedules."

The experience Tett has had with GKN made for a promising inaugural run of the PAWS program.  Penn State DuBois' Assistant Director of Continuing Education Jeannine Hanes, who works closely with Student Affairs on this program, said Tett's story is a textbook example of how the program was designed to work. 

"We believe all students should participate in internships and other experiential learning activities, not just those students whose degrees require them," Hanes said. The new PAWS program allows the student to document both workplace learning and on the job internship skills, as well as professional development skills that will build a portfolio of their employability skills."

Students or employers interested in participating in this program should contact Jeannine Hanes at 814-375-4836.

Last Updated April 08, 2013