Ohio Internship Program Featuring YSU Wins 2 National Awards

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – A Youngstown State University course is part of a state program that won two national awards.

The Ohio Procurement Internship Program was created through the Ohio APEX Accelerator Program and supported by the Ohio Department of Development in the field of government contracting. It was designed to address employers’ workforce needs and to develop the next generation of procurement professionals. 

Through the project, an OPIP course was provided by YSU to teach undergraduate college students the fundamentals of government contracting. Students then participated in a 12-week internship to apply their classroom experiences while working for Ohio businesses that had successful, prior government contracting performance.

The program received the Outstanding Project Award and the People’s Choice Award at the National APEX Accelerator Spring Conference last month in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

“Through our state-of-the-art Procurement Internship Program, we’re providing students with training and businesses with a stronger workforce,” said Lydia Mihalik, director of the Ohio Department of Development. “We’re thrilled with how quickly this program has developed and how it’s helping Ohio’s rising workforce powerfully establish itself in the government marketplace.”

After taking the YSU course, students worked 40-hour weeks and performed tasks related to opportunity identification, proposal response, capability statement development, agency search and more. 

The students were supported during their internships by APEX Accelerator staff at YSU. Through the program, 14 students were introduced to government contracting, with one student being hired following their classroom instruction and several others choosing to pursue careers in the field.

Companies that participated in OPIP leveraged the knowledge, resources and networks the students developed during the course, in addition to the resources and assistance provided by Ohio APEX Accelerator staff at YSU. Participating companies were reimbursed 61 percent of the gross wages paid to the intern, up to $5,000, decreasing the costs they incurred during the internship.

Ohio’s APEX Accelerator Program, which is under the management of the U.S. Department of Defense Office of Small Business Programs, launched OPIP in September 2022.

Businesses interested in using Ohio’s APEX Accelerator program can contact the APEX Accelerator assigned to their county.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.