50+ universities partner with Podium Education to create a for-credit career Global Tech Experience
More than 50 universities are partnering with Podium Education to create a ‘Global Tech Experience’—a way for students across disciplines to uniquely gain tech skills
ARTICLE BY: PRESTON FORE October 18, 2023, 1:32 PM
Obtaining an internship while in college, especially at a top company, is one of the most coveted experiences students seek out.
But, as many students have realized after applying, the process for getting an internship can be challenging and—for those who don’t end up getting one—demoralizing.
One organization is working to reimagine the traditional internship through a new way for students to gain authentic experiences and learn in-demand skills like Python, Tableau, and SQL.
After selecting one of the four tracks—digital marketing, coding for web, coding for data, or data analytics—students work with top global companies on real projects. For example, students may work with Intel or The Recording Academy on data analysis or charity:water on digital marketing.
Each week, students will watch video lessons, attend live lab meetings, and complete project work. The program welcomes students of all majors and backgrounds—with no prerequisites, according to Chris Parrish, president of partnerships and co-founder of Podium.
On top of skills and experience, GTX provides students with university credit and a certificate.
“Podium overall is focused on bridging the gap between college and career by bringing the real world to college. And we design all of our programs to be as accessible and scalable as possible but still have that essence of like: how do we make sure students get real-world experience during the course of their degree?” says Dan Blue, vice president of product at Podium Education.
‘Empowering the future’
Michael Campbell, general manager of Intel’s education division, says Podium’s commitment to nurturing the talent pipeline is a great opportunity for students to take advantage of.
“At Intel, we fundamentally believe that, to create real change in technology of tomorrow, it starts with empowering a diverse generation of innovators today,” Campbell says. “And that’s why we’re excited to collaborate with Podium because we can’t do this by ourselves; we are committed to empowering the future with new innovators.”
Intel will recognize the program credential, he says—adding that it will hopefully be an attractive way for students to prove their skills to future employers.
At each school that is offering the GTX, the program may be slightly catered to students’ needs. Other details like number of credits, cost, and enrollment processes may also depend on the university, but because it’s for credit, the program is financial aid eligible, Blue says.
Some of the other partner universities include the University of Michigan, New York University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
‘Blew away our expectations’
This summer, Podium piloted the program for over a thousand students. At Virginia Commonwealth University, the school planned to include a dozen students. But, according to Garret Westlake, associate vice provost for innovation at VCU, over 400 students expressed interest.
“It totally blew away our expectations on what the pilot was going to look like,” Westlake says. “And students had a great experience; students really enjoyed the intercultural piece.”
So far, students from over 50 different majors have participated in the GTX at VCU. Westlake says the program is a great way for students across disciplines to gain experience—especially since it can be difficult for those outside of tech, say an English major, to gain access to learn data or coding skills.
“We’re seeing this show up for students in their own career aspirations—where the ability to talk about what you’ve done in the context of the real world like that makes a big difference,” Westlake says.
And since the program is online, students are mixed from across university partners across the world. Parrish says he hopes the program continues to grow over the coming semesters.
“The reality is those students, the context that they come into the class with their backgrounds, are extraordinarily different. So the type of intercultural skills, things like social capital, that you can build, when you’re mixing students from those very different backgrounds is noteworthy and I think, a particularly unique part of the platform,” Parrish says.
Reeder Consulting: College and Career Paths is a specialist in the career development field and the #1 career counseling company in San Antonio, TX working with clients in all 50 states. We help individuals engage in career and aptitude testing to process information through meaningful conversations and give clarity to the stress of career decisions to Proceed with Confidence. www.reederconsulting.com