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Workforce Readiness

New Olin Program Cements Bond Between Companies and Engineering Students

engineering student working on computer

The Olin College of Engineering has launched "Premier Recruitment Partners," a program inviting companies to "build stronger connections" with their students long before graduation. Businesses that sign on will receive "highly personalized services" to help them connect with Olin students and allow students to make "deeper associations" with them. Currently, about 100 companies visit Olin each year.

Perks of the paid program include the best booth placement at career fairs, interaction with campus clubs, priority booking of information sessions and other chances to "creatively connect" with students. For example, Pivotal Software will lead a workshop called "Pop Your Profile" to help students "spruce up" their LinkedIn profiles. Other companies that have been long affiliated with Olin include: GE Healthcare, Ford Motors, MathWorks, Cognex and Tableau Software, Blue Origin and Constant Contact.

"We consider programs like this a win-win: Students get good coaching directly from recruiters and engineers, and Pivotal gets a closer look at our students," said Sally Phelps, director of Post-Graduate Planning, in a statement.

Phelps' team created the format after doing a competitive analysis of top-tier universities. "We looked at other schools' programs and realized that our students could benefit from this type of relationship with a smaller number of companies that are willing to provide real-world advice and strong technical experience," she said. "We are fortunate to have so many companies competing for students' attention. This program can help create additional touchpoints between these key partners and our community."

The college already offers a popular capstone program for its seniors with heavy involvement from corporate sponsors. Over the course of the academic year, the seniors work in multi-disciplinary teams of four or five students to come up with solutions to a given company's real-world problems. The corporate sponsors retain the rights to the intellectual property developed by the team. According to the college, this year's students will work on engineering problems that include development of software to help safety officials with crash site reconstruction, improvement in the measurement of atmospheric data, assessment and creation of tools for successful human/machine interfaces, reduction in the risk of Legionnaire's disease, and work tied to accessibility for people with impaired vision. Among the 14 sponsors for those capstones are Amazon Robotics, Arthur G. Russell, Boeing, Boston Scientific, CUAHSI, Ford Motor, GE Healthcare, Microsoft, Pfizer, Santos Family Foundation, Sonos, Toyota, Valve Corp and Watts Water Technologies.

This year's Olin enrollment is 330, nearly half (48 percent) of whom are women. The campus is located 14 miles west of Boston.

For more information about the newest partner program, contact the Post Graduate Planning Department.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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