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Michigan State University Helps Interns Explore Grand Rapids

Downtown Grand Rapids
City of Grand Rapids, Planning Dept.
Grand Rapids' downtown riverfront.

Michigan State University's College of Engineering is offering a one-credit co-op course to engineering interns in western Michigan. 

About 25 students who are interning at Grand Rapids-area companies are involved in the "Grand Rapids Semester," MLive reported. The 10-week class immerses them in the community.

Kyle Liechty is the co-op and internship coordinator in the college's Center for Spartan Engineering. He said school leaders decided to begin the program in Grand Rapids, Lansing and Jackson after it saw success in Detroit over the last three years.

Liechty said 160 students, in total, are exploring the cities through networking events, professional development and volunteer events, as well as social and cultural activities.

"The course and series of supplemental engagement events represent co-op in its purest form, through the extended interaction beyond the workplace to the mobile classroom and community," Liechty said. "Our goal is to help students glimpse a possible future for themselves — making it much more likely they accept jobs and stay in Michigan. Students need to be able to identify what a community has to offer, not just the employer."

University officials said these students might be more inclined to accept a job in western Michigan if they enjoy their experiences.

"It's an organized effort — a one-credit class offered by the MSU College of Engineering — that takes on the serious business of recruiting engineering students into West Michigan to accept jobs and stay in the state," university officials said in a statement.

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