Students at Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY) now have more opportunities to gain valuable real-world experience outside the classroom.
In November 2015, the college established its Office of Internships and Experiential Learning.
“BMCC is committed to expanding internship and experiential learning opportunities for BMCC students, both as a proven engagement and retention strategy, and to prepare students for success in the workplace,” said Provost and Senior Vice President Dr. Karrin Wilks.
In November, BMCC also named Laura Burrell director of the new office.
The college wants to see more students not only participate in, but also better understand what experiential learning can do for them, Burrell said.
BMCC already offers a multitude of experiential learning opportunities. Last year, the college had more than 16,000 students participating in experiential programs or activities.
“Under the umbrella of experiential education are formal credit –bearing internships, informal internships, study abroad programs, exchange programs, project based learning, job shadow programs, service learning, externships and many others,” said Burrell.
The new Office of Internships and Experiential Learning opens at a time in the nation’s economy when more and more companies are requiring a certain of amount of field experience for many entry-level jobs.
The new BMCC initiatives align with a spring 2015 directive from the CUNY Board of Trustees to plan for experiential learning as required by New York State Legislation for all CUNY and SUNY colleges.
Many BMCC students already work full or part time. Burrell hopes the program will present these students with more opportunities that are both paid and field specific.
Burrell says she will be working to establish relationships with local companies, nonprofits, the emerging TAMI sector (technology, advertising, media and information), and even members of New York City’s burgeoning Silicon Alley.