NU and Memorial connect to create career pathway program

Mar. 5—Niagara University and Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center will partner in a new workforce development program that will provide paid internships and the opportunity for full-time employment.

The program announced on Tuesday will be funded through a grant from the John R. Oishei Foundation. It will provide the funding for the paid internships for NU students at Memorial in the fields of nursing, social work, finance and technology. NFMMC President & CEO Joseph Ruffolo said the hospital will take on eight NU nursing students and that the paid internships will offer them more opportunities than they could access through regular clinical programs.

"They will actually do procedures, under the supervision of a registered nurse," Ruffolo said. "So that when they get to their board (examinations), they'll have real world experience. It won't just be academic for them. They'll have the real life experience (of a nurse)."

Ruffolo said the ultimate goal of the program is to be able to offer the interns full-time employment at Memorial after they graduate from NU.

"Niagara students benefit from real-world experiences that enhance their overall education, and in doing so, they will potentially begin their careers at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center — and strengthen the workforce for the hospital and our community," added the Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., president of Niagara University.

Maher said the new program will allow NU to continue to build on its "long-standing relationship" with Memorial.

"It is great to build on that legacy with this working agreement," he said. "Niagara Falls Memorial provides a critical resource in our community and the opportunity to leverage the resources of the university, the currency of our curriculum, and our commitment to Niagara Falls, is central to this partnership."

In addition to the nursing internships, Memorial said it have two intern positions in its Social Work, Finance and IT departments. NU officials praised the opportunity for their students to "gain work experiences and establish a career pathway for them after graduation."

"This program marks yet another important initiative in our long-standing relationship with Niagara University," Ruffolo said. "It is a win-win for Memorial, and as importantly, for university student participants. As is the case at many medical centers, university interns play an invaluable role at Memorial, supplementing our staffing needs with bright young talent, and providing a recruitment pipeline of potential candidates for employment post-graduation. Receiving a stipend gives students an incentive to select Memorial over other offers for their internship experience."

Each semester, more than a dozen NU students will be able to take advantage of the paid internship program.

"In partnership with Niagara's College of Nursing and the Holzschuh College of Business Administration, these innovative agreements extend our mutual commitment to the revitalization of Niagara Falls and the engagement of the community," Maher said. "These experiences for Niagara students are distinctive and provide a robust career pathway that accelerates academic and career success."