By Jeremy Lin
Securing a job after graduation got a little easier for degree programs in the fields of science, technology, engineering or mathematics after Ryerson received $2 million in funding from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev).
The new iSTEM program provides companies with grants of $10,000 for a graduate of an undergraduate program and $15,000 for an intern with a graduate degree or currently enrolled in graduate schooling. In return partner companies who accept these grants will match the grants with an equal or greater contribution and offer six-month internship positions to qualifying students.
“This is part of the federal development agency and their program and what they are trying to do is encourage companies to bring into their industry advanced technologies for productivity, and they want to get the very best students in the [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] areas to work in these industries,” said President Sheldon Levy.
The program will create up to 150 internships within small to medium-sized businesses in Southern Ontario. Graduates who are hired attend a three-day training boot camp led by industry professionals and professors from Ryerson to provide them with a crash course in business concepts before they begin their work terms.
“Many of them catch on with the industry and a number of them get the opportunity to be entrepreneurs on their own,” said Levy. “It has huge benefits for students and is better than a co-op.”
Anthony Lamanna, a fourth- year undergraduate biology student, had never heard of the program before but plans on looking into it.
“A program that lets me get paid for skills I’ve learned in university but also lets me acquire new [business skills] sounds like the best of both worlds,” he said.
As a third-year criminal justice student, Tyler King isn’t eligible for any of the internships iSTEM creates but he still supports Ryerson taking action to aid their graduates with finding job placements.
“You graduate and instantly become part of a very competitive job market,” he said.
“[The program] doesn’t help me necessarily but it’s nice to know Ryerson is showing they care about making sure their students are successful post-graduation.”