Public and Private Initiative to Help Students Get On-The-Job Experience

A new program that aims to help students with the right tools to get on-the-job experience was launched on Nov. 5 at The Universities of Shady Grove in Rockville.

untitledThe Integrated Experiential Learning Cooperative program is a partnership between The Universities of Shady Grove, Montgomery College, and Montgomery County Public Schools.

Beginning in May 2015, sixty Montgomery County Public Schools students in their senior year, enrolled in the Achieving Collegiate Excellence and Success Program, are scheduled to have access to career coaches and assistance through each stage of their educational and experiential learning process.

The initiative is funded by the Hess Foundation, an organization led by Andy and Chuck Hess- owners of HESS Construction in Gaithersburg. The foundation will donate a total of $525,000 over a period of five years.

“The money is going to be used to hire a career coach … Starting in their senior year of high school, and moving all the way through their education as they come through Montgomery College and USG. The coach will work with each individual student to develop experiential learning opportunities that are appropriate for them,” said Stewart Edelstein, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs at The Universities of Shady Grove.

During the event, Saakshe Bhandari, a 2014 University of Maryland Smith School of Business graduate, shared her experiences on having internships and finding employment after graduation.

The recent graduate said that exposure and networking are essential to land a first job.

“I came to USG and I’ve been involved in many things … I feel like there are so many students out there who can get the same experiences and opportunities the way I did,” Bhandari said.

DeRionne Pollard, president at Montgomery College, believes the community will only thrive with partnerships like this.

“I think part of the intentionality of this particular program is to really infuse the workforce awareness prior to completion of high school and to really build that through their collegiate experience,” Pollard said.

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Aline Barros

About Aline Barros

Aline Barros is a multimedia reporter and community engagement specialist with Montgomery Community Media. She can be reached at and on Twitter at @AlineBarros2.


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