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Can students work at my location during the summer?
Yes! Students typically work full-time at your location during the summer.
Does Prairiefire teach “soft skills?”
Yes! Prairiefire maintains a professional engineering office environment to help students learn workplace expectations. In addition to teaching critical thinking processes, the students learn direct and sometimes more subtle skills in personality recognition aiding communication, presentation, and negotiating solutions. We also address goal writing, self critique, and constructive criticism skills.
What non-obvious things does Prairiefire teach?
We teach how to move from the pushed fully defined problems in the classroom to a self pulling data seeking professional career. This is done through our Learn it - Do it - Teach it process. We are seeking to create the next generation of leading engineers.
How many hours do students work?
Undergraduates typically work 10 hours weekly and graduate students typically work 20 hours weekly. When classes are out of session, students can work up to 40 hours weekly. There is a constant fluctuation of class and work load, but we have found that interns have no issues meeting these guidelines.
How many students does Prairiefire host?
The number of students enrolled in the program fluctuates depending on the number of companies participating and the number of students they choose to enroll. We maintain a ratio of full-time engineer availability to student projects and curb enrollment that cannot be supported.
Can we send work to Prairiefire interns?
Prairiefire does not have interns for hire; we are here to help you build and maintain a relationship with your interns while they are attending classes. We additionally mentor your interns such that they are highly valued contributors before day one at your facility.
Who chooses the interns?
Your company's regular hiring practices are followed, but Prairiefire can help get the word out to students seeking internships here on campus if you do not already have interns.
Who hires the interns?
The intern is directly employed by your company at all times, even when being hosted in Prairiefire’s on-campus facility.
Who pays the students?
Students are employed and paid by your company, even while being hosted at Prairiefire’s on-campus facility.
How does Prairiefire safeguard intellectual property during intern hosting?
Intern hosting with Prairiefire provides a secure facility and atmosphere on campus for the student to work from with your data. Our building is access controlled by electronic card reader and data is kept in secured cabinets when not with your employee. Confidential material does not leave the facility. The network is professionally managed, policed for inappropriate activities, and not visible outside of the local network. An encrypted point-to-point software VPN to your corporate network is preferred for all IP data communication with your employee. We teach the interns about IP and the required ethics and integrity needed to safeguard your data. The concept we convey is, “Treat IP like an exam; keep your eyes on your own paper and if a situation of doubt occurs both parties may be subject to permanent discipline. The extent of the discipline may be controlled by corporations and far reaching, don’t look at other’s IP.
Why should I spend time and money on interns that I may not hire?
This program is intended for your best summer interns -- the ones you will want to hire after they graduate. Prairiefire hosted interns are much more likely to hire on with your company (82%) than typical summer interns (17%). 11% of the interns are “flunked” out of the program; wouldn’t you rather invest a little now to ensure you are getting the best later?
When can the students work?
With Prairiefire’s secure card-access facility, students can work on-campus at any time of day, including weekends. Students typically set a fixed weekly schedule, first allowing for their classes, then based on times that work best for you. During certain weeks, such as spring break, Prairiefire may enforce a special schedule to ensure efficient resource availability.
Why does Prairiefire market to students directly?
University of Illinois students earn internship positions at so many companies, we can’t possibly contact them all. We need to hear from students directly about their best internships so that we can prioritize who we contact about the hosting program.
Which companies can sign up?
Any company that hires University of Illinois students as summer interns is eligible to become a sponsor company and continue engaging with those interns throughout the school year.(Please see our list of majors.)
What Engineering majors do you support, and why?
Prairiefire supports Mechanical, Agricultural, TAM, Bio, General, Aeronautical, Civil, Physics, Industrial, Nuclear Engineers. Our current staff have supported work in these fields, but exceptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Why does Prairiefire provide this service?
Prairiefire engineers have benefitted greatly from mentoring programs, and we want to pay it forward to the next generation. We also look to increase awareness within your company of the speciality services we provide.
Why work with Prairiefire?
Opening an on-campus office is financially impossible for some and risky for all companies. Prairiefire has experience and the right location. Finally, should you realize the benefits of an on campus intern program, we will help you setup your own on-campus presence.
How do we know what our interns are up to during the school year?
Your interns will be working on your projects for you, so your engineers will be seeing their progress directly through their work. They will be submitting their hours worked to you, and it should be commensurate with the work they perform. Additionally, we review the students goals, work, and experience bimonthly to ensure progress is being made or corrective action is identified. This process is why 82% of our program’s interns are highly sought upon graduation at their sponsor company and 11% never make it to the end of the program. If they don’t work, they flunk out.
Why should students work during the school year?
Your company gets to keep your best students from the summer internship program engaged, making them more likely to hire on with your company as top quality full-time engineer upon graduation. The students have the time to engage in long term projects, allowing your company to get much more than typically intern level work from them. The students also benefit from learning about real engineering from these long term projects, and of course benefit from having a quality, career relevant part time job during the school year.