Partnering with the Michigan Corporate Relations Network, the Business Engagement Center at UM-Dearborn awards 11 paid internships at growing Michigan small businesses


Eleven students from across UM-Dearborn are working at paid internships with growing small businesses in Michigan this summer, thanks to a partnership with our Business Engagement Center (BEC), the Michigan Corporate Relations Network (MCRN) funded by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), and MCRN’s Small Company Internship Award (SCIA), which provides funding to the companies to hire students for an internship or co-op position.

“Trillium Teamologies, Inc. is thrilled to be involved in such an outstanding local initiative that supports businesses like ours and we appreciate the opportunity afforded by the MCRN-SCIA Program,” said Sue Rodzos, Controller and Director, Trillium Teamologies (TTI), one of the companies taking part in the program this summer. “Having a MCRN-SCIA intern join our team from UM-Dearborn has been a fantastic experience and we are happy that we can provide real-world training to Michigan’s up-and-coming talent!  Support for this program from the State of Michigan also lends a clear message about the bright future for our state.”

Don Watza of Michigan Paper Die, Inc., agreed. “Our company wanted to help a young engineering student see real life in a shop and work setting,” he said. “Students should have exposure to real world work to help them understand the difference between what they think they want to do, and what doing work looks like.”

MCRN is a statewide university network designed to create partnerships that will connect Michigan’s corporations to university assets to help promote innovative research and grow Michigan’s economy. Through its SCIA program, business are able to hire university students to work as interns on projects that are both beneficial to the company and academically relevant to the student. Especially targeted toward Michigan businesses in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, the SCIA program is designed to increase students’ exposure to innovative processes and products emerging from companies that employ high-skill workers and to encourage student job placements with innovative and dynamic Michigan companies after graduation. UM-Dearborn’s Business Engagement Center connected the companies with outstanding students here and facilitated the internship process on campus.

“TTI is supplementing its technical team with otherwise untapped talent, because the program focuses on matching our needs against serious students with the right skill sets,” Rodzos said. “The program provides networking between students looking for a career beginning opportunity and businesses looking for top students.  The work experience gleaned by the students is invaluable and the award increases our ability to bring in new employees at a faster rate. The outcome is mutually beneficial to all concerned and fosters a great relationship with University of Michigan-Dearborn.”

Both companies were very happy with their interns, who are working on a wide range of projects including: testing computer equipment, diagnosing issues, repairing hardware, installing software, building web sites and more.

“Nathan, our intern, was a lift in two areas,” Watza said. “He has been helpful in the front office helping me build a spreadsheet for operations, including getting our daily production scheduled on a google shared worksheet across five departments. This is a tool that is being used daily now.” Nathan also used his CAD experience to help a new hire work in CAD and die making, Watza added.