Illinois Cooperative Work Study Program grant helps SXU students prepare for careers

Saint Xavier University’s Office of Career Services has received an Illinois Cooperative Work Study (ICWS) Program grant of $10,000 from Illinois Board of Higher Education to support internship opportunities for Saint Xavier students. This is the latest of many grants that Saint Xavier has received from the ICWS program, which was created in 1991 with the aim of reducing Illinois college students’ reliance on loans while creating linkages between Illinois universities and local employers. The ICWS program expands SXU’s ability to help students pursue paid internships, cooperative programs with business and industry, and other work opportunities linked to academic programs.

Faculty and staff strongly encourage students to take advantage of experiential learning opportunities; however, because of their high level of financial need, many SXU students cannot afford to participate in unpaid internships. ICWS grant funds are matched by participating employers in order to provide more paid internship opportunities for our students. Local social service, educational, and not-for-profit agencies have been particularly active participants in the program.

The program’s results have been impressive. According to Jodi Martin, Assistant Director of Career Services, every student who has been placed in an ICWS-supported internship has persisted in his or her studies to graduation. Moreover, students who have participated in the program find that their courses take on a higher relevance because of real-world experience, which supports the theory taught in the classroom. Students also report increased self-confidence because they can demonstrate competency in their field of study. In addition, internship experiences have been proven to strengthen graduates’ competitiveness for employment.

Saint Xavier University welcomes the opportunity to develop additional partnerships with local employers capable of providing internships and career opportunities for SXU students. Interested employers should contact Jodi Martin at (773) 298-3133 or malloymartin@sxu.edu to learn more about the program.