TSU excels in Providing Interns for mayor’s Opportunity NOW Program

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is putting more students to work this summer under Mayor Megan Barry’s Opportunity NOW program.

A report from the mayor’s office shows that 51 TSU students applied for positions with the program, more than any other university or college in the Davidson County area.

An initiative launched earlier this year by Mayor Barry, Opportunity NOW seeks to provide young people in Davidson County access to employment.

Treasure Giddens, a senior chemistry major from Detroit, is one of the TSU student interns in the program this year. She will work as a peer coach at McGavock High School.

“I am excited about the opportunity to mentor students, something I have always loved to do,” Giddens said.

Through its Experiential Learning and Job Development office, TSU’s Career Development Center partnered with the mayor’s workforce development team to see how TSU students could benefit from the program.

Charles Jennings, the center’s director, said “the response was great.”

“We were presented with an opportunity to provide students for the program,” Jennings said. “As a team, we marketed it heavily to a lot of students who came to our office who were looking for summer internships. To hear from the mayor’s office that we topped other schools just goes to show how well prepared our students are to embrace the workforce.”

The goal is to hire 9,000 young people — ages 15-24 — for summer employment with businesses and organizations around Nashville.

“We want to connect youth to hope, and that means connecting them to opportunity and jobs,” Barry said at the launching of the program. “I want for our youth what I want for everyone in our city – a chance to succeed.”

Christina Smith is also participating in the program.  A senior psychology major from Memphis, she is thinking about teaching after graduate school. She is assigned to Hunters Lane High School, where she will teach job training skills to students.

“I think this is a great opportunity for me to just get a feel of how kids younger than me operate and how to go about interacting with them,” Smith said.

On how TSU was able to attract so many students to the Opportunity NOW program in such a short period, Chandria Harris, coordinator of Experiential Learning and Job Development, said “teamwork and getting all departments involved was very helpful.”

“From Tiger Track to collaborating with other colleges and coordinators and directors, posting the information, and going after students who needed internships, we were able to capture the 51 students,” Harris said.

The partnership with Opportunity NOW is just one of many efforts the Career Development Center has initiated to expose TSU students to career and job opportunities.

That, combined with the level of job-readiness preparation students are receiving in the classroom, is making TSU graduates more attractive to potential employers.

For instance, a number of students who received degrees at TSU’s May commencement are fully employed at some of the nation’s major companies, such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Bank of America, BMW and Raytheon.

“I am so pleased with the innovative and exemplary work executed by our CDC team,” said Dr. Jame’l Hodges, assistant vice president for administrative support in TSU’s Division of Student Affairs. “The CDC team and overall Division of Student Affairs will continue to raise the bar in meeting industry standards, and aligning with high- impact practices all while upholding the mission of TSU.”

For more information about TSU’s Career Development Center, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/careers/


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With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.