Working together, the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and Johnstown Area Regional Industries soon will provide many students the chance to gain hands-on experience in their chosen fields.
A new program, called the Pitt-Johnstown/JARI Real World Link for Entrepreneurship, is designed to increase the number of internships and job shadowing opportunities available to individuals attending UPJ. It also will provide information for students who are considering starting their own businesses when they get out of college.
The agreement was finalized during a formal signing ceremony at the school’s Blackington Hall on Monday afternoon.
“Here at Pitt-Johnstown we believe it’s very important to link theory to practice,” said university President Jem Spectar.
“We think that one way to really take advantage of a Pitt-Johnstown education is to find practical opportunities in the community.”
JARI, a nonprofit business service provider, will facilitate the program.
“This is a great opportunity for us to partner to help make sure that people studying here have an opportunity to get a real-world experience. ... This is really an extension of our services to the community within the university,” said the organization’s president, Linda Thomson.
Through their mentors, participants will learn about different professions with an emphasis on developing creativity, resource awareness, collaborative skills and an ability to showcase ideas.
“There are a lot better chances of success in your chosen field if you actually know in advance that this is the kind of work you’re going to do,” Thomson said.
Spectar hopes the program will provide students the tools needed to find employment in a competitive job market where half of the nation’s bachelor's degree-holders younger than 25 are unemployed or underemployed.
“Students will appreciate the fact that at this university we pay a great deal of attention to career services, supporting students to find jobs in the real world, and we’re taking our efforts to another level,” Spectar said. “We’re not just supporting career services; we are trying to promote the ethos that students have to learn how to create their own jobs, not just seek employment.”