This idea emerged from a brainstorming during our OpenIDEO meetup at NYU on November 5, which involved students from NYU and other schools in the city, as well as some young professionals.
Companies have a lot of issues and problems that they are not able to solve due to lack of time and human resources. What if they presented these problems to college students to solve and in return paid for one of their courses?
For example, an automobile company could present real-world problems for Mechanical Engineering students and ask them to develop solutions during their Senior Design course. In return, this company would pay for the course.
This program could benefit students, companies and universities.
BENEFITS FOR STUDENTS
Besides having the cost of their education reduced, students would have the opportunity to have hands-on experience and learn through real-world problems. Furthermore, this is a chance for them to learn employable skills and to network with professionals.
At the end of the courses, the students can show their projects and skills to companies.
BENEFITS FOR COMPANIES
Besides having some of their problems solved, this is an opportunity for universities to have students trained in the skills that they need. So, instead of having to give trainings to new employees, the company could sponsor courses related to these skills.
Furthermore, the companies would get to know students. This would make the recruiting process more effective and efficient.
BENEFITS FOR UNIVERSITIES
Establishing contacts with companies is a good way for university to guarantee students placement in the job market and consequently to improve their reputation. This could be an alternative for career fairs.
Age: 22 years-old
Austin is a senior mechanical engineering student. He is a good student and has good grades, but he hasn't had a lot of opportunities to do many internships. His studies demanded him a lot of time. He will graduate next semester and he feels unsure about going to the job market. He feels he hasn't enough experience.
One day Austin receives an email from his advisor about a course opportunity in which he will be able to have hands-on experience. This course will involve solving a real-world problem proposed by Ford. The course will be paid by the company, so he will also receives a discount on his tuition fee.
Austin decides to enroll on the "Sponsored By" course. Since there were more students than spots available, the students were selected by their previous professors. Austin was one of the students chosen, so he receives a discount on his tuition fee.
Austin then attends the first class of the "Sponsored By" course in which an employee from Ford present for the students a challenge about how to improve driver's safety. The speaker informs students that they will work on team for this project and each team will have a professional mentor.
Over the semester, Austin and his team work on their idea. They do research, talk with drivers and build a prototype.
At the end of the semester, Austin and his team present their idea to the Ford employees and they love it.
Because of his project, Austin receives a job offer from Ford. He will analyze it and compare with other offers. Austin feel much more prepared to start working.