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What are the Partnerships for Global Talent?

The Partnerships for Global Talent are grants awarded to Wisconsin companies to fund paid internships for University of Wisconsin-Madison students. The program’s purpose is to assist in the development of Wisconsin’s talent pool—more specifically, to help students develop global business skills by the time they graduate from college. Internships funded through the program are intended to both help Wisconsin companies with their current global expansion needs, and fill a gap in the state’s labor force by developing global business skills in workers early in their careers.

How are the Partnerships for Global Talent funded?

The program is funded by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) through the Targeted Industry Projects Grant Program and is administered by UW-Madison’s International Internship Program (IIP).

How much funding is available to companies?

Each company selected for the program can receive up to $4,000 to help offset the costs associated with hiring an intern. These costs may include wages and benefits for the intern, as well as staff time to identify business needs, review applications and coordinate logistics, which may include visas and foreign tax issues. Each participating company is expected to contribute matching funds that meet or exceed WEDC’s contribution, or to secure matching funds from another source.

Who should apply for the Partnerships for Global Talent?

The program is limited to small and midsize Wisconsin companies (defined as 500 employees or fewer). Preference is given to companies in Wisconsin’s driver industries, including advanced manufacturing; aerospace; bioscience; energy, power and control; food and beverage; and water technology. The internship can either be located in Wisconsin, with an international focus of work, or it may take place at an overseas facility of a Wisconsin company.

How does the selection process work?

IIP will work with interested companies that fit the selection criteria to structure their internships so the scope of work is both suitable for an undergraduate intern and beneficial to the company where the intern is placed. Companies seeking to hire an intern through the program for the summer of 2016 must apply by September 30, 2015. Once the list of available (funded) internships is finalized, IIP will publicize these internship opportunities and accept applications from students. Working in coordination with IIP, companies will interview student applicants in January and make their final selections.

What is the benefit to companies?

In addition to the funding provided by WEDC, companies selected to participate receive assistance from IIP with structuring the internship, selecting an intern and coordinating logistics. Through the partnership with IIP, these internships receive broader exposure and a larger applicant pool than they would if the companies simply created internships and advertised on their own.

Small and midsize companies that are engaged in international business are more stable, achieve 2.4 times higher growth rates and pay higher wages than their counterparts that only sell domestically. Wisconsin companies commonly express that they seek to expand globally but have difficulty finding workers to hire with the skill set required to support that expansion. Thus, this program not only fills a need within Wisconsin’s economy, but also helps participating companies find qualified employees whom they may choose to keep on after the internship ends or hire once they graduate.

 (July 2015)