As part of an AIM Photonics Academy Workforce Development Project, the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) piloted a two-unit undergraduate course called “Workforce and Internship Skills.” The class offered 28 STEM students training on topics that are essential to workplace success, but are rarely taught in college.
Credit: University of California Santa Barbara
The course combined guest lectures and classes featuring industry professionals providing real-world perspectives. Through classes and a poster competition judged by industry experts, the course provided students with the opportunity to create meaningful links with industry managers.
As one student put it, “I will be interning for Microsoft... I credit my successful interview experience to the workshops we did in your class. I remember when you brought in several industry people to mock interview us…I felt much more comfortable pitching myself afterwards, and the constant reminders on how be a great intern, time management tips, and our final project was INCREDIBLY helpful.”
Overall, 83 percent of the students rated the course as “very good” or “excellent” and it is being offered again in the fall of 2017 to better align with the hiring cycle for industry internships and maximize its benefit to students.