(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — The Ohio Department of Development (Development) is paving the way for businesses to overcome the challenges of international markets while providing college students with invaluable hands-on experience in global trade and commerce.

Through the Ohio Export Internship (OEIP) Program, Development connects college students with businesses looking to export for the first time or improve international sales. The program is recognized for fostering mutual growth and success for both students and businesses.

“The Ohio Export Internship program is a win-win opportunity, driving mutual growth and success” said Lydia Mihalik, director of the Ohio Department of Development. “We are equipping students with invaluable international business skills and providing businesses with fresh perspectives and global insights.”

Students taking export-focused coursework at one of six universities across the state are matched based on their skills. Participating universities include The Ohio State University, Youngstown State University, Cleveland State University, the University of Dayton, Bowling Green State University, and Ohio University. In the Spring 2023 semester, OEIP matched 55 students with some of Ohio’s most innovative companies.

“My greatest accomplishment was creating an international certification and service support strategy to help the team get a wide perspective on where they are at and where they would like to go,” stated Kabir Abdullahi, who interned at Global Cooling, Inc. as part of the Class of 2023 OEIP at Youngstown State University. “All the data and research that I put together is actually being implemented as action items for the upcoming year.”

The internships have a track record of success. In the 12 years of the program, 466 student-company matches were created, resulting in 152 internship extensions and 81 new job positions. In total, companies have entered 424 new international markets.

Many Ohio businesses have taken advantage of the program, including Hartzell Hardwoods of Piqua. Long recognized as a worldwide leader in walnut and top-quality thick lumber, Hartzell Hardwoods has been an innovator and leader of the hardwood industry since 1875. The company has been an OEIP host for the last three years, where interns assisted in video productions, foreign language translation, and graphic design.

“Thanks to the Ohio Export Internship Program, our company expanded its global territory, gained invaluable insights, and harnessed the exceptional talent of Ohio’s Export interns,” said Robert Kaebnick, CEO and president of Hatzell Hardwoods, “It’s been a game-changer for our business.”

In addition to helping place interested students, the program provides a 50 percent reimbursement for the intern wages.

Company applications are open now at EIP.Development.Ohio.Gov. Development’s Export Assistance Office is reviewing applications through the month of January. Internships will run from May-August 2024.

Companies interested in learning more about the OEIP program can email Wendi Howell at Wendi.Howell@Development.Ohio.Gov.

The Ohio Department of Development empowers communities to succeed by investing in Ohio’s people, places, and businesses. Learn more about our work at development.ohio.gov.