Cleveland Business Connects

For immediate release (October 6, 2017) Media Contact: Judy Abelman Email: Phone: 440.725.8861...

How can a great internship program boost the regional economy, reverse brain drain, and keep talented millennials from seeking their fortunes elsewhere? The answer can be found among the winners of this year’s prestigious Expys Awards. The Expys honor the best intern and internship programs among Northeast Ohio companies and organizations, and the people who make them the best.

This year’s award for Best Intern went to Brandi Floor, a University of Akron College of Business student who received a job offer from Goodyear Tire and Rubber because of the impressive work completed during her summer internship there. In nominating Brandi, her supervisor Ryan McDorman wrote: “I can honestly say she is not only the best intern that has worked for me but one of the most talented and high potential employees I have worked with in my career. I gave her a major cross functional project that required an intense level of planning, collaborating, analyzing, problem solving, and intuition in order to be successful. She greatly exceeded my expectations and when she presented her final project to senior leadership they were extremely impressed and offered her a job on the spot. She created a process and plan to save the company $6 million dollars through the use of a new inventory monitoring system.”

Evidence that great internship programs can benefit interns and industry was apparent at the awards ceremony on April 20, 2016, sponsored by the Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education (NOCHE) and Cleveland Business Connects (CBC) magazine (see the complete list of winners below). Hundreds of nominations were received as testimonials that internships can launch promising careers and strengthen the workforce.

The Expys (named for experiential learning outside of the classroom during the internship or co-op experience) is a signature program of NOCHE, a collaboration of higher education institutions and businesses dedicated to feeding the talent pipeline necessary for regional economic growth.

“Business and industry depend on higher education for a continuous supply chain of educated, skilled and talented individuals,” says Rob Briggs, president of NOCHE. “Simply put, great internships lead to productive and rewarding workplaces. It’s important for NOCHE to honor the extraordinary leadership provided by regional organizations that are doing it right. We can all learn from them, and keep our best and brightest working in the local economy.” Briggs noted that less than half of NEO employers have formal internship programs.

Out of hundreds of nominations, more than 30 finalists were selected in several categories: Best Intern, Best Supervisor, Best College Advisor, Best New Internship, Best Large Company Internship, Best Small Company Internship and Coolest Internship. This year’s winners are:

  • Best New Internship: From Me 2 U, Inc. and its Becoming Me internship training and coaching program for college students pursuing social service majors. The internship program provides students with 45 hours of training in prevention, youth development and life coaching before they receive their internship assignments. Over the course of the internship experience students receive career coaching to help them develop specialized skills and interests and explore nontraditional uses for the Social Work degrees.
  • Best Large Company Internship: Hyland, Creator of OnBase, which hosts more than 100 interns each summer. Hyland says its interns do not do busy work: Interns sit with their team, go to meetings with their team, and attend team outings as well (think paintball, bowling, dinners out, etc.) and success is “sending a student back to school for their senior year with a full time job here at Hyland upon graduation.”
  • Coolest Internship: The Entrepreneurs EDGE, which hires student “Fellows” as independent consultants to explore the upside potential to new business ideas and work with senior leaders at area companies. “Fellows love the autonomy, the practical and meaningful learning experience, the ability to learn more about NE Ohio and area companies, and to connect with so many professionals throughout the region.”
  • Best Small Company Internship: Cleveland Leadership Center, where the nominator was provided so many diverse assignments, intensive mentoring, and opportunities to make professional connections that “I know I wouldn’t be in the great position I am today with the City of Twinsburg without my experience at Cleveland Leadership Center.”
  • Best Supervisor: Hillary Sparks-Roberts at Social Venture Partners Cleveland, who was hailed by her nominating intern: “I would not be half of the young professional I am today if it weren’t for her. Hilary challenged me to set goals and allowed me to tailor my position to my interests, skills, and areas of growth.”
  • Best College Advisor: Charles Campisi, Baldwin Wallace University, whose nominator described him this way: “Dr. Campisi has made numerous phone calls to professors to get me into classes that were already filled and ensured that I would maintain a full time status through my internship and online classes. Most impressively, he kept me on track to get my bachelor’s degree in THREE years instead of four.”

A 2012 study of the economic impact of internships and co-ops, conducted by NOCHE and ERC, found that interns save employers time and money:

  • The work done by interns saves NEO employers 14.6 hours per intern per week.
  • Employers also save $2,411 in recruitment and hiring costs and $1,659 in training costs by converting an intern to a full-time employee.
  • Employers in NEO report that almost one-third of former interns are retained after five years of employment.

For more information about successful internship programs, or the award winners, contact NOCHE Associate Vice President Brenda Davis Smith at or 216.302.3242.


About the Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education: Strategic Vision – NOCHE will serve as the backbone organization to engage higher education, business, industry, community leaders and others in a strategic collective that improves educational outcomes for all northeast Ohio citizens, focuses on degrees that have value in the marketplace, and fuels innovation and regional socioeconomic growth. Through its Northeast Ohio Talent Exchange online matching platform (, NOCHE facilitates personalized, high-quality internship matches between employers and college students. Highly regarded as a leader in internship management, NOCHE also provides total internship management education and talent acquisition services to employers throughout the region.

About Cleveland Business Connects: CBC covers the corporate Northeast Ohio region while dedicating extensive coverage to female professionals, business networking, and corporate events. The magazine’s print issue is published six times per year and distributed to 20,000 business professionals, including owners, presidents, and CEOs within the region (


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