Issue 342: 5 / 24 / 2010

Southwest and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Finance Center Establish Intern Partnership

Southwest student Kevin Ripski’s ...

Southwest student Kevin Ripski’s qualifications helped spark the interest of Valerie Harbor of the USACE Finance Center in initiating establishment of the new business/accountancy internship.

A new partnership with the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Finance Center is giving Southwest business and accountancy students a new opportunity to qualify for valuable internship positions. Brenda Williams, director of Career Services, and Brenda A. Smith, Southwest Business, Accountancy and Paralegal Studies Department chair, reported this new opportunity and the excitement it has generated among departments and students. “We are extremely excited about this partnership and the assistance it will afford our students,” said Williams, in announcing the internship and the first three Southwest students who have been hired.

From the very beginning, students selected are offered paid internships with flexible hours and benefits that include paid leave and holidays. “Most importantly, those who perform well have the opportunity to parlay the internship into a full-time, permanent position,” added Williams. The initiative for the internship came through a Southwest student who came to the attention of Valerie Harbor, USACE organizational resources and management specialist, as a well-qualified, prospective intern. Harbor had noticed that many of their University of Memphis (U of M) interns had started their business education in Southwest programs. She wanted to extend the internship to Southwest students in order to bring them on board at an earlier stage of their education, before they transferred to the U of M. Harbor, Cynthia Blevins, and Lee Autry of the USACE Finance Center met with Williams, Smith, and Shirley Dozier, Career Services administrative assistant, to discuss a potential partnership.

The USACE Finance Center provides centralized finance and accounting services in support of all Corps of Engineers activities throughout the United States and Worldwide. Southwest interns will perform a variety of accounting technician functions, including accounts payable and receivable, disbursing and travel payments. Participating students can earn academic credit for their work experience through Southwest’s Cooperative Education program in addition to being eligible for the New Technical Scholar Intern Program.

Carl Swoboda, associate professor of accountancy and coordinator of accounting programs, recommended the position to one of his students, Teresa Glover, who immediately applied, was called for an interview, and received a job offer, said Williams. Southwest students Kevin Ripski and Stacy Graham also received job offers. “We look forward to partnering with the USACE Finance Center in order to assist with future hiring needs while providing an excellent training experience for our students,” said Williams.