As part of a broad effort to expand paid internship opportunities for University of Nebraska students, the NU System will pilot a new program that incentivizes businesses to include internships in their proposals when participating in the university’s competitive bidding process, President Ted Carter announced Wednesday.
Beginning in 2023, businesses responding to certain university Requests for Proposals (RFPs) will be awarded bonus points if their plan for delivering the goods or services sought includes paid internships for NU students.
Carter noted that the NU System does $700 million in contracted business every year, engaging thousands of vendors in areas like facilities, business services, information technology, and research and science.
“Imagine the opportunities we will create by formally making internships a part of that conversation,” Carter said. “This is a win for businesses that urgently need more skilled workers, and for Nebraska’s workforce and economy, which depend on the University of Nebraska as a prime source of talent.
“Most importantly, this is a win for students. Adding an internship incentive to our RFP process has the potential to create new opportunities for students in just about every field of study at the University of Nebraska. We’ve made internships a high priority across the university system – this program is one way for us to turn our goal into real action that will make a difference for students and our state.”
Potential vendors will be notified of the opportunity to earn bonus points for offering internships in the RFP issued by the university. Offering internships will remain optional for all bidders, and bidders will continue to be evaluated on a range of factors in accordance with state law and Board of Regents policy.
Recognizing that internships can help students discover their career path as well as strengthen the workforce pipeline in Nebraska, Carter’s strategic plan for the NU System includes a goal to ensure that every student has a paid internship or experiential learning opportunity. All NU chancellors are also working to expand internships and experiential learning on their campuses.