Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan
Six college students from across Michigan spoke on a panel at the 2013 Governor's Education Summit about the challenges and opportunities they have faced in searching for jobs.
Heather Waldron of Petoskey is a student at Albion College and is focusing on biology and economics. She highlighted the importance of internships in formulating her career aspirations.
"I had no idea what a big deal an internship was until I got into college," Waldron said. Her advice for educators: Inform students about internships while they're still in high school, so when they're in college, they'll know the right questions to ask. That pressure, Waldron said, will encourage universities to supply students with better opportunities, helping them become more competitive.
"They'll ask questions about internships, and then those colleges will be forced to tap into their alumni network even more and provide more networking opportunities and more internships, which really gives us the experience we need to be competitive in the workforce," she remarked.
Andrew Sierra of Flint, who attends Kettering University, also highlighted the importance of internships. He pointed to his college's co-op program in getting him started on the right career path.
"The one thing I've been really appreciative of at Kettering is that we have a co-op program. I think that type of a partnership is really key to making sure we're following the right steps on our path to graduation," Sierra said.
From his experience, Sierra believes that similar partnerships between universities and the private sector -- and colleges with high schools -- are valuable ways to help students succeed.
"For me, it's really about developing that pipeline, early education all the way through landing your career," he said. "Basically, we have to make sure we're educating the young students about the different jobs that are available, from high school into college."
Governor Snyder applauded the students and their desire to build careers in Michigan.
"This is the talent we have in our state. They want to be here, and they're working hard to make that happen," he said.