From Finance & Commerce.
What if students could get work experience, companies could get reasonably priced labor and qualified applicants, and IT jobs could stay in Minnesota? It can happen, and Martin Hebig won a Tekne Award in 2011 for figuring out how.
Hebig is the founder and president of Maverick Software Consulting. In 2006, his company began setting up offices at universities with 8,000 to 10,000 students and computer science departments of 200 to 300 students. Then they recruited those students to work for Maverick’s clients on IT projects.
With most internships student labor is affordable, but the company must recruit, train and monitor them. Maverick does all that for the client, which fills a gap between the university and the working world, Hebig says.
“The universities teach students the fundamentals, and then we show them how the theory they’ve learned fits with the real world,” he says.
Maverick now has 120 students working for five clients. It operates six offices at nine universities in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa, and aims to double in size in the Midwest. The company is automating all of its processes to expand to smaller universities and more remote clients.
“We’d like to be able to monitor students remotely as they work with clients anywhere in the country,” Hebig says.
All 164 students who have worked in the program found full-time jobs, a remarkable result in this economy.
“I’m not saying we got all of those students jobs, but we definitely helped with some of it,” he says. Hebig estimates that 70 to 80 percent of those students found employment in-state.
The program generates revenue that mostly stays in Minnesota ($11 million so far, Hebig estimates). It also provides on-campus jobs for students, creates stronger links between industry and academia, and turns out skilled and productive IT workers. Now that’s progress.