For years, people in Rochester have lamented the “brain drain,” meaning the trend of young people leaving Rochester as soon as they finish college.
Now there’s an app to fight that.
County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo announced on Monday that the county has created a program to link college students in the Rochester area with summer internships at local businesses. The paid internships will come with free housing, transportation, and cultural programs curated to help persuade the students to set down roots in Monroe County.
“MatchUP Monroe is custom designed to link students from our world-class colleges and universities with rewarding internships at some of our community’s most exciting local employers,” Dinolfo said. “Together, we will ‘MatchUP’ our best and brightest students and employers to build a brighter future for all of us.”
Work on the program began in January, Dinolfo said, and will launch for the summer of 2020. The county has partnered with six local colleges to recruit students, and a variety of companies and cultural institutions.
“Incentive programs like Match Up Monroe provide our students with the opportunity to learn more about the great jobs and rewarding career opportunities that this region has to offer,” said Ian Mortimer, Vice President for Enrollment Management at Rochester Institute of Technology. The other colleges partnering with the program include University of Rochester, Nazareth College, St. John Fisher College, Roberts Wesleyan College and Monroe Community College.
Once students apply to the program, they will be screened by a panel of participating companies and may be interviewed by individual companies. Some of those companies planning to host interns so far include CloudChekr, Datto, 29 Design Studio, LeFrois Builders & Developers, Unither, eLogic, UR and Innovative Solutions. Additional companies can still apply to participate on the program’s website.
Housing in RIT’s Global Village will be provided for the duration of the internships, which will last eight to 10 weeks. Free bus passes will be provided to help students reach their jobs.
Dinolfo and some of the participants unveiled MatchUP Monroe at Innovative Solutions Monday.
Justin Copie, CEO of Innovative Solutions, said, “We are so excited to partner with Cheryl and her team to help solve one of the biggest problems in our community — retention. Through this program, we’re excited to usher students into our business so they can begin to develop relationships within the community, and learn what makes this community so great. It is our responsibility to nurture the amazing talent in this community, if we’re to grow this community.”
The cultural component of the program involves coordinating visits to attractions in the county, sharing the off-hours life of Monroe County with students. Institutions including VisitRochester, Geva Theatre Center, the CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival, Seneca Park Zoo and others have signed on to help with that.
“Monroe County is home to world-class arts and cultural institutions, nationally-recognized museums, a fantastic parks and recreation system and a fabulous food scene,” said Don Jeffries, president and CEO of VisitRochester.
Imagine Monroe, the county’s economic development agency, will cover costs of housing, transportation and some other expenses, while county planning and economic development staff support the program.
Students and companies that would like to participate in the program can learn more at MatchUpMonroe.org.
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