In response to Florida's growing tech job market, Podium's Global Tech Experience will enable 76,000 Florida undergrads to work with Intel and charity: water
To bridge the early-career talent gap the University of South Florida (USF), the University of Miami (UMiami), Florida Atlantic University (FAU), and Jacksonville University (Jacksonville) announce partnerships with Podium Education (Podium), the leading experiential education company, to provide a new model of early career experience to over 76,000 undergraduates during the '23-'24 academic year. The Global Tech Experience (GTX) program will launch in collaboration with Intel, a global leader in semiconductor manufacturing and charity: water, an international non-profit. Students who enroll will receive academic credit, gain work experience, and build skills in areas like data, coding and digital marketing.
Last year, Florida's tech job market expanded by 4.8%, surpassing the national growth rate by more than 10 percent. Adding approximately 22,000 tech jobs, Florida ranks third in the nation for job growth in the technology sector. However, despite this upward employment trend, 80% percent of local employers have expressed concerns about the readiness of today's new graduates to meet their talent needs.
"In order for college students across disciplines to uniquely gain tech skills to meet the workforce demand, we are pleased to partner with The Global Tech Experience. The program offers direct access to real work experiences with renowned companies for all of our undergraduates regardless of zip code or socioeconomic status," said Kathi Kern, Vice Provost for Educational Innovation at UMiami. "This new model of engaging students in real-world problem-solving and developing intercultural skills at scale nurtures the talent pipeline for our students and prospective employers."
The Global Tech Experience focuses on business challenges including Intel's sustainability efforts and charity: water's goal to activate new audiences. Using modern digital learning design and high-quality production, students in the program are placed into context as a team member of Intel or charity: water. Undergrads learn about organizational goals directly from leadership in a series of stakeholder meetings and are then tasked with solving a real-world challenge. Each project is designed from the perspective of a new intern, creating an authentic work experience for students but at a scale never before possible.
Mihaela Metianu, Assistant Provost for Global Engagement at Florida Atlantic University comments, "GTX offers an alternative path to global engagement that complements other high-impact opportunities such as research, internships, or traditional academic study abroad."
Participating GTX undergrads build in-demand skills in areas like Tableau, Shopify, Python, and digital ads platforms like Meta, TikTok, and Google. Additionally, participants work in small groups with other students from over 50 countries, earn between 1-6 credits and are awarded micro-credentials and certificates. Committed to opening access to work-based learning experiences, GTX has zero prerequisites and is open to students from all majors and backgrounds.
According to the Beacon Council of Miami-Dade County, local university efforts to encourage growth in the tech jobs pipeline are critical to the economic sustainability of the region. Public-private partnerships like those with Podium Education, are the key to unlocking Florida's most valuable resource: talent. Beacon Council's recent record-breaking technology sector expansion of 15,000 new tech jobs to the region reinforces the need for new graduates with the skills to meet the demand.
Kiki Caruson, Vice President for USF World at the University of South Florida adds, "Given the global dynamic of every industry today, our students need experience effectively working on diverse teams and collaborating across borders and time zones. The Global Tech Experience gives students a unique opportunity to collaborate with peers from around the globe to tackle real-world problems with companies like Intel and charity: water. I know our students are better prepared for the world of work because of GTX."
Among Florida universities, 1,500 GTX alumni have completed the program to date and 80% report that the experience made their degree more valuable, with over half reporting that the course influenced a shift in their academic or professional goals. Encouragingly, 97% of participants attest that the program benefited their career goals and 63% acknowledged that it enhanced their competitiveness in job and internship pursuits.
"GTX was hands down the best thing I did during college," said Matthew Feinstein, a senior at Florida Atlantic University and also a Pricing Analyst at Disney. "The technical skills I developed were invaluable for my current role and the collaboration skills I gained were a welcome surprise. Working on real-world data projects alongside peers from around the world gave me an opportunity to collaborate with a diverse and distributed team to strategize and tackle problems. There's no question: I would not have landed my job at Disney without The Global Tech Experience."
Furthermore, Gallup recently reported only 4 in 10 undergrads complete an internship, with the rate of participation even lower among first-generation college students, at 27 percent. The lack of access to internships fueled the development of this new, more scalable model that enables students to receive invaluable experience with Fortune 100 companies and global non-profits.
"The research underscores that early career experiences need to evolve and we can't limit ourselves to traditional internships that are not accessible or scalable," said Chris Parrish, Co-Founder and President of Partnerships of Podium Education. "We're thrilled to work with our university partners on this new model to ensure all undergraduate students get invaluable early career experience with iconic brands."
Enrollment is now open for Spring 2024. To learn more about GTX at Florida Atlantic University, University of Miami, University of South Florida and Jacksonville University, please visit:
ABOUT UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI
The University of Miami is a private research university and academic health system with a distinct geographic capacity to connect institutions, individuals, and ideas across the hemisphere and around the world. With more than $413 million in research and sponsored program expenditures annually, the University of Miami is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU). The University's vibrant and diverse academic community comprises 12 schools and colleges serving more than 19,000 undergraduate and graduate students in more than 180 majors and programs. Located within one of the most dynamic and multicultural cities in the world, the University is building new bridges across geographic, cultural, and intellectual borders, bringing a passion for scholarly excellence, a spirit of innovation, a respect for including and elevating diverse voices, and a commitment to tackling the challenges facing our world.
About University of South Florida
The University of South Florida, a high-impact research university dedicated to student success and committed to community engagement, generates an annual economic impact of more than $6 billion. With campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee, USF serves approximately 50,000 students who represent nearly 150 different countries. U.S. News & World Report has ranked USF as one of the nation's top 50 public universities for five consecutive years, and this year USF earned its highest ranking ever among all universities public or private. In 2023, USF became the first public university in Florida in nearly 40 years to be invited to join the Association of American Universities, a prestigious group of the leading universities in the United States and Canada. Through hundreds of millions of dollars in research activity each year and as one of the top universities in the world for securing new patents, USF is a leader in solving global problems and improving lives. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference. Learn more at www.usf.edu.
About Florida Atlantic University
Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students across six campuses located along the southeast Florida coast. In recent years, the University has doubled its research expenditures and outpaced its peers in student achievement rates. Through the coexistence of access and excellence, FAU embodies an innovative model where traditional achievement gaps vanish. FAU is designated a Hispanic-serving institution, ranked as a top public university by U.S. News & World Report and a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. For more information, visit www.fau.edu.
About Jacksonville University
As northeast Florida's premier private institution of higher education, Jacksonville University is consistently recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the Best Regional Universities in the South. Founded in 1934, the University offers more than 100 majors, minors, and programs, including in-demand degrees in Nursing, Business, Marine Science, Engineering, Finance, and Psychology, as well as those in the highly specialized fields of Aviation, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Film, Animation, and Healthcare Administration. With its five colleges, eleven schools and four institutes, Jacksonville University's 235-acre riverfront campus is minutes from downtown and from beautiful area beaches.
About Podium Education
Founded in 2019, Podium Education is the leading experiential education company that supercharges the undergraduate degree through real-world, project-based experiences for all students. Podium has over 50 university partners including Georgetown University, University of Michigan and Texas A&M University. Our flagship program, The Global Tech Experience, is a fully digital program that enables students to gain global competencies and work experience while working alongside peers from 50+ countries. Students from all backgrounds and majors explore the in-demand fields of digital marketing, coding, and data analytics through co-designed projects with top global companies such as Intel, charity:water, the Recording Academy®, and more. For more information, visit https://www.podiumeducation.com/gtx and LinkedIn.