In an innovative new program, OSU is hiring its own students from a vendor’s internship program to work on the company’s systems on campus.
The term “win-win” has been beaten to death in recent years, but it does succinctly convey the idea of mutual benefit. Now, in an innovative internship arrangement with a software company, Ohio State University is trying to go one better, creating a win-win-win partnership to benefit the school’s Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO), Hyland Software, and—most important—the university’s students themselves.
Under the program, OSU students have a chance to intern at Hyland Software and then apply the skills learned there in jobs within the university’s OCIO, which utilizes the company’s OnBase enterprise content-management platform. “In our partnerships with companies like Hyland, we are interested in how we can add value for our students, whether it be internships or scholarships,” said Dave Kieffer, senior director of enterprise applications at OSU. “We are looking for opportunities for students to get involved in the work of the university as well as ways to engage them in the work of our partners.”
The idea for the program arose during contract negotiations with Hyland in 2014. An Ohio-based company that lies two hours from campus, Hyland already hires a lot of OSU interns and Kieffer saw an opportunity to complete the circle. Of the 15 OSU interns at Hyland, three were hired by the OCIO for the fall semester. Two of these filled technical roles with Hyland, while the third occupied a position in general communications.
Although Kieffer’s primary goal is to support OSU students, he is also forthright about the benefits OCIO receives from having student employees with hands-on experience. “One student has been doing very technical work in getting web services and APIs to work between Hyland products and our DocuSign product,” said Kieffer, referring to a cloud system used for electronic signatures. “Her previous knowledge of the Hyland platform was invaluable, and she was able to start right away. With the experience these students gain from their internships, their learning curve is a lot steeper. That’s been a distinct advantage for us.”
By employing OSU students who have already been screened by Hyland, OCIO also dramatically reduces the amount of time it takes to find qualified student employees. “Hyland’s proficiency at recruiting was a huge advantage for us—the company had already narrowed the field to a really good population,” said Kieffer. “The student interns we met were phenomenal. As we move forward, we can use that synergy in looking for people who have great skills and great ambition.”