The readers’ forum

Connecting students with meaningful work experience


We hear a lot about the brain drain — talented college graduates leaving South Florida because they can’t find the top-notch, high-paying jobs they desire.

Working with the Beacon Council, the One Community One Goal Academic Leaders Council wants to put a stop to that. The Academic Leaders Council is composed of the presidents from Barry University, Florida International University, Florida Memorial University, Miami Dade College, St. Thomas University, University of Miami and the superintendent of the Miami-Dade County Public School District who are working to address issues that affect our students.

For this reason, we are creating a regional internship program called the Talent Development Network. The Talent Development Network will connect students with meaningful work experience in line with their career goals through internships — aligned with the One Community One Goal targeted industries that define South Florida: Aviation, creative design, hospitality and tourism, international banking and finance, information technology, life sciences and healthcare, and trade and logistics. We understand that internships are the key to obtaining full-time employment. Nationally, almost 60 percent of paid interns received full-time job offers upon graduation. Florida Power & Light has a very successful internship program with 92 percent of the interns converted to hires upon graduation.

The Talent Development Network already has the support of local industry and foundations, including American Airlines, Baptist Health South Florida, Dosal Tobacco Corporation, the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, The Miami Foundation, The Peacock Foundation and the Shaffer Community Fund.

Students need to be prepared for today’s global workforce and we are doing everything we can to create a strong, vibrant workforce of professionals. Let’s work together to retain our intellectual capital and encourage young people to stay here, contribute to our local economy and continue to call South Florida home.

Irma Becerra-Fernandez, Vice President for Engagement, Office of Engagement, Florida International University, Miami

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