Microsoft’s Skills 2000 Internship Program Helps HighTech Companies Groom Future Employees, and Gives Students the Chance to Develop Valuable Job Skills —
Steve Benni is an intern at ABS Associates, Inc., a Microsoft Certified Solution Provider (MCSP) company in Rolling Meadows, Illinois. A computer science student at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Benni says that his internship has “strengthened my decision that this is the right field for me. You get to see what the job’s going to be like and if you don’t like it, you’ll know ahead of time.”
Besides the vital experience he is getting in the information technology (IT) industry, Benni stressed that the supervision and guidance provided him at ABS Associates is helping to increase his self-confidence. “We are closely watched so that we know we’re doing things properly, but at the same time, we’re given responsibility and freedom to make decisions on how things are handled,” Benni said. “It’s a good balance.”
Internship opportunities in high-tech companies are being provided for students like Benni through the Skills 2000 Internship Program. The program was launched by Microsoft Corporation to help Microsoft Certified Solution Provider companies cultivate future employees to fill more than 41,000 current jobs at MCSPs worldwide — jobs that remain unfilled due to a lack of qualified applicants.
The internship program, which initially will be available only in North America, provides resources for MCSPs to establish company internships, and then links MCSPs with IT students at more than 950 Microsoft Authorized Academic Training Program (AATP) institutions, 1,000 Authorized Technical Education Centers (ATEC), and national career counseling organizations.
AATP and ATEC students provide the MCSP companies with cost-effective labor that they can evaluate before hiring an employee on a permanent basis. At the same time, interns gain valuable experience and hands-on learning to develop technical skills that employers are seeking.
Robert Erman, of Micro Modeling Associates, Inc., a MCSP in Boston, has had great success integrating one or two interns annually into his organization. “Our internship program provides us with affordable access to potential employees who are energetic, bright and hard-working,” Erman said. “Interns enhance our overall workforce by adding motivated people who are willing to learn the business from the ground up.”