Ohio Internship Program Receives 2 National Awards

Designed to address the workforce needs of employees while also creating the next generation of procurement professionals, the Ohio Procurement Internship Program (OPIP) is now a national award winner. 

OPIP, a project created through the Ohio APEX Accelerator Program and supported by the Ohio Department of Development in the field of government contracting, recently received two awards at the National APEX (NAPEX) Accelerator Spring Conference in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

“Through our state-of-the-art Procurement Internship Program, we’re providing students with training and businesses with a stronger workforce,” said Lydia Mihalik, director of the Department of Development. “We’re thrilled with how quickly this program has developed and how it’s helping Ohio’s rising workforce powerfully establish itself in the government marketplace.”

During the conference’s awards dinner March 13, OPIP received the “Outstanding Project Award,” which recognizes an accomplishment that stood out among each of the nation’s APEX organizations, and the “People’s Choice Award,” which recognized the program that best exemplified what it is to be an APEX Accelerator and/or counselor.

Through the project, an OPIP course was provided by Youngstown State University to teach undergraduate college students the fundamentals of government contracting. Students then participated in a 12-week internship to apply their classroom experiences while working for Ohio businesses which had successful, prior government contracting past performance. Students worked 40-hour weeks and performed tasks related to opportunity identification, proposal response, capability statement development, agency search, and more. The students were supported during their internships by APEX Accelerator staff at Youngstown State University.

Through the program, 14 students were introduced to government contracting, with one student being hired following their classroom instruction and several others choosing to actively pursue a career in the field.

Companies which participated in OPIP leveraged the knowledge, resources, and networks the students developed during the course, in addition to the resources and assistance provided by Ohio APEX Accelerator staff at Youngstown State University. Participating companies were reimbursed 61 percent of the gross wages paid to the intern up to $5,000, significantly decreasing the costs they incurred during the internship. The “Outstanding Project Award” was determined by an awards committee which included members of the NAPEX organization, as well as some of its past presidents. The “People’s Choice Award” was determined by a vote from each of the nearly 700 NAPEX members which were in attendance.

Ohio’s APEX Accelerator Program, which is under the management of the U.S. Department of Defense Office of Small Business Programs, launched OPIP in September 2022.

Businesses interested in utilizing Ohio’s APEX Accelerator program can contact the APEX Accelerator assigned to their county.

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.