The Talent Pipeline program was conceived as part of a second year South Carolina Innovation Challenge Grant which was awarded to the Knowledge Park collaborating partners, including the Rock Hill Economic Development Corporation, the City of Rock Hill, Winthrop University, York Technical College and Rock Hill Schools. The program was designed to utilize grant funds to pay one half the cost of a college student intern employed by local technology companies, and in particular client companies of the Technology Incubator.
The way the program is currently operating, local technology companies request internship assistance and provide job descriptions. Local college students, primarily from Winthrop University and York Technical College, are encouraged to submit resumes to match with the internship job descriptions. When an intern and a company are matched up, the intern is paid $10 per hour for up to 20 hours of work per week. The Talent Pipeline, managed by Frank Keel of the Rock Hill Economic and Urban Development Department, then reimburses the company $5 for each hour an intern works. If a company has found a good fit with a particular college intern, they are free to hire that person outright and the end of the internship period. The original grant funds for the program were exhausted as of June 30,2016, but the program is continuing through a grant from Wells Fargo.
TI Center client companies, which are usually strapped for cash, were the first to take full advantage of the Talent Pipeline program. To date, five client companies of the Technology Incubator have taken advantage of this innovative program and have hired twelve college interns. So far, three of those internships have turned into full time jobs.
“The Talent Pipeline internship program turned out to be a vital component of my education while a digital design and marketing student at York Technical College. The internship program allowed me to gain practical skills while being able to help solve real-world problems in an actual collaborative business environment. In my case, the internship led directly to being hired by the company, Insignia Group LC. I would highly recommend participation in the Talent Pipeline program to any college student driven to gain real world experience as preparation for full-time professional work.”
Tanja Krouse, Marketing Design Specialist, Insignia Group LC
One significant spin-off benefit of the Talent Pipeline program for the Technology Incubator is that it provides another unique feature we can offer to those promising startup firms we are recruiting to be client companies. This benefit, along with several other unique services, such as Comporium Communication’s Zipstream gigabit internet service and our licensed GrowthWheel® decision-making tool kit, make a compelling case for entrepreneurs to locate in Knowledge Park. These types of advantages to entrepreneurs are making our Technology Incubator program one of the most robust business accelerators in the State of South Carolina.