University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) is committed to offering innovative ways to expose students to professional opportunities. As evidence of its success in that area, more than 1,000 students and alumni turned up at the recent virtual InternPLUS Fair.
“Although our office has hosted multiple recruitment events, this was the first one focused on internships and early-career opportunities, including full-time positions, micro-internships and experiential learning. We plan to host this event again annually in September,” said Cathy Francois, director of UMGC’s Office of Career Services.
In advance of the InternPLUS Fair, attendees received resources to help them prepare for the event, including tips for creating their elevator pitch to employers and background information on the companies taking part in the event.
“Attendees were able to join information sessions to learn about pathways for obtaining workforce-relevant experience that enables them to be competitive in the job market,” said Kaitlyn Kaminsky, program management specialist for career services. “Topics ranged from virtual job simulations, paid micro-internships, federal opportunities for students and recent graduates with disabilities and more. These sessions were held concurrently in a video roundtable format.”
On the day of InternPLUS Fair, participants could chat with representatives from 14 employers, ask questions of a UMGC career services adviser or take part in eight information sessions. The sessions examined resume tech and career prep resources, paid micro-internships with Parker Dewey, free virtual job simulations, the virtual Student Federal Service Internship Program, companies embracing neurodiversity in their workforces, the Federal Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP), UMGC student organizations involved with workplace learning, and no-cost courses and tech resources for students.
“I thought I was never going to be able to do an internship, but the micro-internships are awesome,” said recent graduate Christina Barlas, who participated in a micro-internship sponsored by Parker Dewey. “Search for a company or position that really is geared toward what you want to continue pursuing and don’t be discouraged if you apply for several positions and you aren’t selected.”
Two of the information sessions highlighted opportunities for students and recent graduates with disabilities. Employees from WRP and Specialisterne each hosted a webinar on the options and job assistance available.
WRP is a free job referral and internship initiative overseen by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy and the U.S. Department of Defense. The program puts job seekers in touch with positions in the federal government and private sector.
Specialisterne, meanwhile, is similar to a head-hunter service. It is an internationally recognized not-for-profit organization that harnesses the talents of people on the autism spectrum and other neurodivergent people.
“Don’t be afraid to start over because at first I was hesitant about it,” said Tiearra Mable ’25 who found a tech-sales internship with SV Academy through its partnership with Diligent Corporation, and she has embraced the value of internships. “It ended up being the best decision that I made for myself.” As a result of Mable’s internship, she started a full-time position with Diligent Corporation.
For more information on future UMGC career fair events and resources, visit umgc.edu/current-students/career-services.