PRESS RELEASE-SENEDIA’S Real Jobs Rhode Island Internship Program Pivots During the Pandemic Environment To Provide On-Site and Virtual Internships

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

20 July 2020
Point of Contact—Molly Donohue Magee, Executive Director – mmagee@senedia.org

SENEDIA’S REAL JOBS RHODE ISLAND INTERNSHIP PROGRAM PIVOTS DURING THE PANDEMIC ENVIRONMENT TO PROVIDE ON-SITE AND VIRTUAL INTERNSHIPS

The Southeastern New England Defense Industry Alliance (SENEDIA) is the lead for the Real Jobs Rhode Island Defense Industry Partnership grant to implement workforce development opportunities to support the needs of the Defense industry. The grant provides funding to support a robust internship program for IT/Cybersecurity, Engineering, Supply Chain/Business Management, and Military Veterans. SENEDIA, through our Real Jobs RI grant, matches interns with companies. Interns are provided a stipend and afforded the opportunity to take associated online certification training. SENEDIA can facilitate immediate job placement for candidates with sufficient experience. U.S. citizenship is required to work in the Defense industry. To date, SENEDIA has placed 149 interns in member companies/partner organizations and facilitated 193 job placements.

As a result of the pandemic, SENEDIA is placing interns both on-site and virtually, to match the shift of companies transitioning to a partial remote working environment. Companies have had to pivot to transition their staff and remain connected. Richard Astle, CEO of NeQter Labs, a SENEDIA member company who has successfully used our internship program, observed, “This meant that we had to figure out how to support our ongoing operations including our employees and interns, service our existing customers, and continue the development of our products.” SENEDIA intern Michelle, a student at the Community College of Rhode Island, was caught in the middle of this transition. Michelle, who is a software development intern, has been able to continue her internship remotely by accessing the NeQter network to continue her project. “Working remotely, Michelle has been creating new features for our cybersecurity product by collecting and examining event logs. Constant communication with the team regarding progress and next steps has been key,” said NeQter’s Director of Product, Shawn Houston. When asked about the pros and cons of her virtual internship, Michelle replied, “I am learning a lot and it has been interesting. I found that scheduling has certainly been key, and another lesson I learned was that you must set yourself up in a remote work-like setting to be productive.”

Jeffry, a student at the Community College of Rhode Island completing his A.S. in Cybersecurity, successfully completed a virtual internship with KMS Solutions, another SENEDIA member company. Jeffry expressed, “with the internship I learned a lot about the cybersecurity field. I had the opportunity to apply real-life situations to what I learned in the classroom, and I also developed new skills that will help me to have a successful cybersecurity career. I am very lucky to have supportive people, who assisted me to have a successful and valuable experience.” When asked about the challenges and/or surprises on completing an internship during a pandemic, Jeffry answered, “When I was looking for an internship, I relied on my college career office, but there were not many requests for interns during the early months of the pandemic. Then SENEDIA reached out to me with an internship offer. During the pandemic, adapting to safety protocols for the workplace required working from home; therefore, my entire internship was distance learning.” Jeffry is now preparing for his Security+ certification through online training resources provided by the RJRI grant. He has been offered a job with KMS Solutions after he graduates. Michael J. Martino, KMS Solutions Senior Vice President added, “The SENEDIA Intern Program has a two-fold benefit. It provides participating SENEDIA member companies valuable technical resources immediately and at low cost. This Program also provides permanent employment and growth potential for the interns. KMS hopes to continue using this great program as frequently as possible.”

Travis, a rising senior majoring in computer engineering at the University of Rhode Island, was placed in an on-site internship at Response Technologies, another SENEDIA member company, at their Coventry facility to learn about and work on installing a robotic spray system and mask-making automation. When asked about working on-site during the pandemic, Travis replied, “everyone is safe with COVID precautions,” and “this internship has contributed so much to the start of my career.” When Travis finished the 80-hour internship, Response Technologies offered him a position for the summer.

If interested in an internship or if your company would like to host an on-site or virtual intern, please contact internships@senedia.org. SENEDIA has talented intern candidates with cyber/IT, engineering, business and military backgrounds.
###
The Southeastern New England Defense Industry Alliance is a catalyst for thought leadership and innovation in undersea technology, cybersecurity and defense technologies. The organization is focused on growing regional opportunities in the defense and homeland security sectors and facilitates associated workforce development efforts. For more information on SENEDIA, please visit: www.senedia.org.