Saint Martin’s University in Lacey Readies Today’s Scholars in Career-Driven Internships and Student Jobs – ThurstonTalk

Saint Martin’s University in Lacey Readies Today’s Scholars in Career-Driven Internships and Student Jobs – ThurstonTalk

It’s no secret that many of today’s college students want a higher education degree with a built-in, hands-on path to entering the workforce. That’s why those enrolled at Saint Martin’s University in Lacey are nimbly guided through a multi-pronged job readiness effort offering internships and student jobs, a post-graduation guarantee program and much more.

Ann Adams, the University’s Center for Career and Calling director, says research shows we are in a critical period of recognizing the importance of career readiness for students. “Families are looking for a return on investment for their student’s education,” Adams explains. “Saint Martin’s has been noted for the mobility rate of our graduates, which is one of the highest among private colleges in Washington State and refers to the ability of students moving from low-income status to the upper-income levels.”

Adams says the university reports a student placement rate after graduation of 80%, meaning 60% obtain jobs, 19% enroll in graduate school and 1% join the military. These students are prepared for their next steps after graduation through internships and other student job opportunities that bring classroom learning into the working world.

Internship Navigator Carley Lester outside the Saint Martin’s University Internship Hub during an open house, ready to welcome new students. Photo credit:: Shanna Paxton Photography

Lacey Career Internship Hub Creates a Culture of Student Internships that Enhance Future Job Opportunities

One example of the university’s commitment to students’ future success is its Internship Hub. The Hub is a sub-office of the Center for Career and Calling designed to create a campus culture  where internships are the norm. “Experiential learning can include internships, undergraduate research, job shadowing and service learning,” Adams says.

Since opening in 2021, career development staff have had 757 appointments with students. Internship Navigators like Ryne Oshiro meet with students to assist with job and internship search strategies, resume and cover letter preparation, LinkedIn profile guidance, mock interviews,  and offer access to online resources and workshops on all aspects of career competency.

Oshiro says internships include a good mix of in-person, virtual and hybrid work experiences. “We preach to students that internships serve a great purpose —  building connections both in their academic realm of study and in a hands-on professional work environment,” he says. “It is also a great way for students to start figuring out different directions they would like to go with their degree. Students get to  explore what they like or do not like.”

Interns can receive pay and/or college credit. Resources like the Handshake job posting platform, job and internship fairs and the virtual career center also connect students with internships and employers.

“Students report much greater confidence in their ability to apply for jobs after graduation  following their internship experience,” says Adams. “Their resumes have evidence of related work experience, and it is noted on their transcript.”

Lacey career staff assisting with internships and student jobs include Internship Navigator Carley Lester, Internship Navigator Ann Adams, Career Peer Advisor Emery Hansen and Internship Navigator Ryne Oshiro. Photo credit: Shanna Paxton

Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office Offers Student Internships for Saint Martin’s University

Saint Martin’s interns have gained experience in the legal field at the Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office (PAO) in Olympia. Christen Anton Peters, Chief of Staff, says the office offers students legal opportunities in the criminal division, which handles caseloads concerning misdemeanors, domestic violence, special victims, juveniles and post-conviction matters. Interns also work with victim advocacy, public records, administration, data analysis, policy and community engagement.

“Each summer, interns are offered training by PAO Deputy Prosecuting Attorneys and Judges in the PAO summer intern workshops providing opportunities to learn about many aspects of the criminal justice and court system,” says Peters. “Topics range from trial strategies and approaches in court to the impact of mental health on the criminal justice system.”

In addition to the county prosecutor’s office, internship opportunities are provided by many other local, state and federal government agencies; local businesses like KGY Radio; national and international businesses like Boeing; non-profits; and many other organizations.

Three Saint Martin’s University alumni recruiters showing “Saints Live With Heart” at the job and internship fair. Internships and student jobs help the university’s students enter the workforce. Photo credit:: Shanna Paxton Photography

‘Saints Promise’ Delivers Post-Undergraduate Internship and Graduate School Commitments

“Saints Promise” is another career preparation initiative at the University. Adams says this program started with grant funding to pay stipends to students who complete unpaid internships. “With most academic programs, internships are an optional credit-bearing experience, and it is a significant hardship for students to forego paid work for an unpaid but career-related experience,” she explains.

Today, the program charts a four-year path to job readiness for each student participant and delivers a guarantee. “Saints Promise is a commitment to students that if they complete the terms of the program and do not secure employment after graduation, they are guaranteed a paid internship to gain the necessary experience or one term of a Saint Martin’s graduate program tuition-free,” Adams says.

To learn more about the Saint Martin’s University Internship Hub, additional experiential opportunities, student jobs, Saints Promise and other Lacey career readiness programs for students, visit the website or contact the Center for Career and Calling. The Center’s services are available to current students and alumni.

Saint Martin’s University
Center for Career and Calling, Old Main 257
Internship Hub, Harned Hall 113
5000 Abbey Way SE, Lacey
360-688-2835

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