There’s only so much one can learn in a classroom.
That’s why experiential learning lies at the foundation of the educational experience at Harrisburg University.
For undergraduates, HU’s experiential (hands-on) learning program, which includes a mandatory internship, accounts for 13 of the 120 credit hours a student must complete before they graduate. Graduate students must take at least two experiential learning courses. One course is a seminar to prepare them for the applied project, or internship, they must tackle before they earn their graduate degrees.
The experiential learning program has helped HU forge strong partnerships with businesses and public agencies. Some students intern with state and county agencies, including the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the Dauphin County Coroner’s Office. Others gain valuable hands-on experience with businesses, including Chemical Solutions and Mist IQ.
But perhaps no company has a stronger bond with HU than WorkXpress, a mobile and web app development company based near the university in the Strawberry Square office and shopping complex in downtown Harrisburg.
HU supplies a pipeline of talented students to WorkXpress, interns who help tackle an ever-expanding amount of work for the growing company. In exchange, our interns get hands-on experience and know-how at a company they often wind up working full-time for after they graduate.
There are six HU students interning at WorkXpress. And the company now employs four full-time HU graduates (one former graduate student and thre former undergrads) who are helping the company develop new products, including the world’s first CitizenDeveloper software, a true no-code development tool geared toward enterprise-level web applications and everyday business users.
“There’s definitely a community between ourselves and HU,” said Treff LaPlante, CEO of WorkXpress. “We’ve been very appreciative of the relationship with HU. There is a certain connectedness that comes with students from HU. There is no question the relationship has been a positive.”
HU interns and graduates employed by WorkXpress echoed the sentiment.
Rebecca Hull, who graduated from HU with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Information Science in January, interned with WorkXpress. She now works full-time for the company.
“I like the fact that I am working on something different,” she said. “And they allow you to get involved here.”
KaRon Scott, who is completing his final semester at HU this summer, is interning with WorkXpress.
Scott said he could envision himself working for the tech startup after he graduates.
Scott, who formerly worked for a larger company where he felt like a number, said he also appreciates the level of involvement he is afforded at WorkXpress. Everyone within the company is approachable, he said.
“It’s more of a coming-together type of environment here,” Scott said. “I think this is a very good spot. They are doing something very rare here. They already conquered one market. And it’s a developer’s dream to join a startup that has a bigger sense of direction.”
For more information about WorkXpress, visit the company’s website at www.workxpress.com.