people working on flipchartA new internship program will engage FAHSS students in the ProsperUs community partnership.

Internship program to engage students in community project

After months of planning, an innovative new internship program in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science will provide students with a unique learning experience while supporting a community partnership to unlock the potential of local youth.

The course will be led by professor Geri Salinitri, and co-taught by staff from the ProsperUs backbone at United Way/Centraide Windsor-Essex County. In this two-semester program, students will learn the theoretical foundations of community-based program evaluation, receive practical experience by engaging with community services, participate in human-centred design processes, and experience a program evaluation simulation.

Students will also receive career, resumé, and interview supports from the Office of Experiential Learning, creating a scaffolding that bridges into a placement interview in the course's final weeks.

This is a wonderful chance for our students to engage with key community partners on a ground-breaking project aimed at widening access to post-secondary education in our community,” said Cheryl Collier, dean of FAHSS. “I hope our students take advantage of this opportunity not only to give back to the Windsor-Essex community, but also to learn important skills to help them transition into the workforce upon graduation.”

Following the successful completion of the first semester and the interview process, students will be eligible for internships paying a $2,000 honorarium while filling a position in a community setting. These positions will support children, youth, and families in a program setting within three target neighbourhoods in Windsor-Essex County while supporting robust community engagement and evaluation efforts.

“ProsperUs is a cross-sector, collective impact partnership comprised of non-profit, government, health care, education, labour, business, and inspired community members with a shared vision of a prosperous Windsor and Essex County. We’re working differently and more collectively than ever before, and this partnership is a true example of that,” said ProsperUs co-chair Jim Inglis, regional vice-president of BMO.

The other ProsperUs co-chair, Jessica Sartori, is CEO of the John McGivney Children’s Centre.

“We are proud to partner with the University of Windsor to provide students with this experiential learning course — to learn about human-centered design and to share the approaches that are being applied locally to solve community issues,” she said.

Windsor-Essex United Way CEO Lorraine Goddard said the organization is pleased to provide this innovative learning experience to students this fall in partnership with the University of Windsor and ProsperUs.

“Resident engagement and evaluation plays a vital role in solving problems and creating lasting measurable change,” said Goddard. “We’re eager to share our insights and build the capacity of students to undertake this important work in the community.”

This program directly supports community initiatives and will provide students with work-integrated-learning opportunities and tangible training that will help support their future career opportunities in the human service sectors and beyond. Expanding student opportunities for experiential learning while simultaneously supporting community partners is really important, said Judy Bornais, executive director of the Office of Experiential Learning, who has been involved with the planning of the project.

The program, titled Community Engagement and Evaluation GART/SOSC 2050, will launch in September.