The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

GV establishes new partnership to support international student success

GVL- Aida Dennis

Grand Valley State University announced a new partnership with Global Detroit and the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce on June 15. With the goal of driving local economic growth, these organizations seek to collaborate on the expansion of the Global Talent Retention Initiative and the Global Entrepreneur in Residence Program.

“There’s two kinds of components to the program and one is the Entrepreneur in Residence Program, which allows for an international person to apply to be hired at Grand Valley at about 10 hours a week,” said Rachel Becklin, career advisor and internship specialist at GVSU. “Through that, they would be able to work on developing their company or business, whatever that is that they are creating outside of those work hours, which gives them some time and space to apply for the appropriate visas to help them stay and establish that organization.”

However, the expansion of the Global Talent Retention Initiative component of the new partnership is likely to create the biggest benefit to undergraduate international students at GVSU. Through increased development of the partnership, connections will be created between local corporations and students abroad in hopes of increasing West Michigan’s Talent Recruitment power. 

For international students to accept an internship in America, they must apply for Curricular Practical Training (CPT), which would give them the legal ability to attend school and work an internship. This process can be confusing for employers and students, prompting the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce’s move to serve as a link between local businesses, Global Detroit and GVSU.

“The chamber is going to help to connect the employers to Global Detroit to provide education and training on what that (CPT) looks like from an employment standpoint and they also provide professional development and training for international students looking to apply for these opportunities,” Becklin said.

The impact of the new partnership will continue to play out in the coming months. GVSU is excited and optimistic about what the future holds. 

“GVSU is excited to work with the Chamber and Global Detroit to ensure international students and entrepreneurs are part of the region’s business community and talent pipeline,” GVSU President Philomena Mantella said in a press conference. “In partnership, we will work to support them in ways that build equity, prosperity and growth.”

This partnership is rolling into the fall semester alongside one of GVSU’s biggest classes for both international students and incoming freshmen. Last week, the Padnos International Center welcomed nearly 200 new international students to both GVSU and Michigan, according to the center’s Assistant Director Liz Montoya.

“We’re so excited at the possibility of increasing the opportunities and the pipelines for our international students to work,” Montoya said. “A lot of international students already work for Dematic, they work for Meijer, they have those opportunities already but to build on those and expand them is really the goal.”

The new partnership seeks to build upon the work already being done at GVSU. The university is already working to provide both international students and undergraduate students with career opportunities and internships while advising students on the legal logistics of entering the workforce. 

“Even while applying for internships, GVSU was very helpful in guiding me with all the forms,” international student Aruna Karkee said. “When I’m back home I don’t have to worry about all the forms because I know the things, but here I was very worried about what it could be and everything was new to me.” 

In order to make the process of obtaining an internship accessible for all students at GVSU, the university offers a number of internship coordinators and advisors. Karkee’s internship coordinator, Quincy Williams, was a reassuring presence throughout her applications.

“I was quite confused to take that journey, because what if something was wrong in the forms, what if I’m liable to something, but Quincy helped me on the process,” Karkee said. 

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