Through a new platform called BlueWork, Butler University students now have the opportunity to connect with employers and gain real work experiences as early as their first year on campus. Using an algorithm that matches students with short-term projects based on their skills and interests, BlueWork aims to provide experiences from a variety of industries while helping companies fill short-term needs and gain access to a talent pipeline.
“We started BlueWork as the next phase of what the student experience could be,” says Ginger Lippert ’04, MBA ’13, Manager of BlueWork. “Without the time commitment of a full or even part-time internship, students can start applying their skills and growing their networks early on, then continue learning through new projects until graduation. Butler is also excited to offer companies the chance to connect with talented students and receive assistance on short-term, project-based work without the need to hire and supervise an intern or full-time employee.”
In addition to building their resumes, students using the BlueWork platform can cultivate their career interests and discover where their passions can be utilized in the workforce. This exploration begins as soon as students register, with two workshops that provide professional development training focused on professionalism, project management, and consulting.
Compared to internships that typically last an entire semester or year, BlueWork projects are designed to only last a few days or weeks. This gives students more opportunities to discover which endeavors are most fulfilling and explore the gig economy.
BlueWork is available to students within the Lacy School of Business during its pilot phase this semester, and the platform will open to students of all majors by spring 2022. The opportunity for cross-functional project groups to develop across campus will open doors for collaboration and partnership with peers, as well as deliver additional perspectives for the organizations hiring students for projects.
Lippert is excited to see how beneficial this program will be for the future careers of Butler students. And this unique opportunity doesn’t have to end once students graduate: Through a rotational fellowship offered to new Butler graduates, alumni who have participated in BlueWork will spend six months providing guidance to current students in a peer mentor capacity. The remainder of this two-year program is made up of six-month positions at three other companies.
BlueWork utilizes Butler students’ enthusiasm to explore. Companies will be provided high-quality performance while students connect with professionals in their fields, interacting with employers in the community and across the nation.