This fall, the Longhorn Center for Academic Equity (LCAE) is partnering with the University Co-op on a new College-to-Career internship program, offering on-the-job learning for students of all disciplines at the large retail store with a unique business model.
The program is a part of the DDCE’s new Academic Creativity and Design initiative to prepare students for the new world of work. Following the success of the LCAE’s signature College to Career: Prelaw Undergraduate Scholars Program, the internship will combine rigorous coursework with field experience under the guidance of professors and mentors.
In spring 2019, the program will begin with a course co-taught by Cheryl Phifer, University Co-op president and CEO and UT Austin alumna (McCombs School of Business ’83). Throughout the semester, students will learn about the retail industry and will have the opportunity to job shadow at the store. In the fall, they will get their start on the sales floor and later move into different avenues within the retail industry.
“We continue to seek community partners, like Cheryl Phifer, who invest in our diverse UT students by providing these rich experiences,” says Aileen Bumphus, associate vice president of the DDCE.
Sponsored by the Co-op, the paid internships will continue for two and a half years, allowing students to get in-depth training in their chosen vocation. Eric Dieter, director of student engagement, says the LCAE is excited to partner the Co-op team.
“The Co-op has invested a lot of work into this, Dieter says. “They are very generous, energetic partners and I’m looking forward to co-teaching the course with Cheryl Phifer.”
A long-time partner of the university, the Co-op has collaborated with several academic units to support students through various initiatives. This new venture aligns with their mission to improve the lives of the university community with a business where people love to shop, work and connect. The Co-op is a nonprofit founded in 1896, proudly owned by the University of Texas at Austin students, faculty, and staff.
“The University Co-op’s mission is to improve the lives of students, faculty and staff at UT Austin and we’re excited for the opportunity to partner with Eric and the LCAE on this new internship program,” Phifer says.
The LCAE will begin recruiting the first cohort of ten to 15 students in mid-September. With generous support from the Co-op, later cohorts are projected to expand to 40-50 students.