Introducing Purdue Pathmaker
Companies need skilled engineers, computer scientists, and other high-tech workers, but finding these employees—especially for short-term projects, such as before a new product introduction—can be a challenge.
The Purdue Pathmaker program can assist companies by helping them to employ upperclass students in the appropriate fields.
Students get real-world work experience that will help them get jobs when they leave here.
– President Mitch Daniels
Charter participants in the Purdue Pathmaker pilot program include HP, EMC, and Intel.
Purdue Pathmaker is not an employment service, however. Companies participating in the program have a presence at or near Purdue, which often includes office space, full-time employees on-site, and regular interactions with Purdue faculty.
This helps to ensure that the work the students are doing fits well with their academic course of study and provides a direct means of interaction between the participating companies and Purdue faculty.
Purdue President Mitch Daniels says the program addresses several issues at once.
“The student jobs pay more than they would get in typical service industry jobs, which helps the students pay their college expenses. They get real-world work experience that will help them get jobs when they leave here. Purdue Pathmaker is one example of the type of improvement to higher education that we've been expecting to see," Daniels says.
The national leader in engineering and engineering technology
Two data points tell you why the Purdue Pathmaker program is generating so much interest early. First, Purdue produces more students with undergraduate degrees in engineering and engineering-related technology than any other university in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Education's Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.
Also, according to the ManpowerGroup’s annual talent shortage survey of U.S. companies, engineer positions have been among the ten hardest jobs to fill each of the past five years.
Purdue Pathmaker is an opportunity for corporations to play a role in higher education, to help build the nation's future workforce, and to address their own short-term needs.
A capstone experience for students
Rachel Pereira, a senior majoring in electrical and computer engineering from the Chicago suburb of Bartlett, Ill., says the Purdue Pathmaker experience benefits her now, and she expects those benefits to continue later into her professional career.
"Everything I'm learning here relates to what I do at school and in class," she says. "I really enjoy what I'm working on, and I want it to become a full-time career. I would definitely recommend this program to other students. It's a unique opportunity, being able to work part-time at school and to work on such innovative products. Not many students have an opportunity like this, so anyone who is in the program is really fortunate."
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