Building connections for future employment

In an effort to help students grow and incorporate their careers into the Riverside community, there are programs that stress the importance of internships and provide students with a valuable career experience.

Among these programs is the Riverside EDvantage citywide internship program which specifically focus- es on bringing the Riverside community together by connecting students with local businesses and non-profit organizations which host interns.

The program was initiated by the Higher Education Business Council, a coalition of our local university and college Presidents and Chancellors chaired by Mayor Ronald Loveridge.

This was in an effort to keep students in Riverside and expand their knowledge of the available opportunities in the area.

“When students make connections with local businesses and agencies, there’s a greater chance they’ll find work here and decide to make Riverside their home upon graduation,” Mayor Loveridge said.

Through HEBC, leaders from California Baptist University, La Sierra University, University of California, Riverside, Riverside City College and local businesses come together to explore ways to promote Riverside as a community of colleges and universities.

Too often, students leave the city of Riverside seeking opportunities elsewhere, not knowing of the opportunities that the City of Riverside has to offer.

Deisy Ruiz, internship and volunteer coordinator at the Mayor’s office, was actively involved in establishing relationships between businesses, non-profit organizations and students to bridge the gap between business and education.

Ruiz advises students to conduct research and start looking at companies they would like to work for while still continuing their education so that they may also participate in an internship with that organization.

“Research the organization and be able to articulate how your skill sets will be and asset to them,” Ruiz said.

While it is the focus of the EDvantage program to create more internship opportunities, it is the student’s job to build relationships with future employers through these internships.

Many students fear that their internship experience will not give them the experience they need. The EDvantage program reminds the businesses and non-profit organizations that host the internships to provide students with the best experience while mentoring them.

“Internships are not free labor,” Ruiz said. If there is ever a complaint it is brought to her attention for the issue to be addressed. “We want to make sure that the internship is a beneficial learning experience for both the student and the hosting institution,” Ruiz said.

Riverside is a city with a high education student population of more than $50,000. It is important that this community takes advantage of the knowledge capital being created.

In an effort to do so, the four institutions that are a part of the EDvantage program informs students about career opportunities in the area through informational meetings, brochures and, more importantly, the career center.

In addition to the many career planning resources offered by the various institutions, students in the City of Riverside are fortunate to have the EDvantage program as an additional resource.

The future of Riverside’s expansion of highly educated individuals in the workforce depends on the experience that students have and the internships in which they participate. An internship may not guarantee future employment but it does guarantee experience, which can never be taken away.