INDIANAPOLIS - The head of the state’s technology sector initiative says a new extended internship program addresses a big challenge in traditional internships. TechPoint and IUPUI last week announced the Xtern Semester program, which gives seniors the ability to continue their paid internships with Indy tech companies when they return to class in the fall. Chief Executive Officer Mike Langellier says the traditional internship model doesn’t really work for the students or the employer.

Langellier says an integrated work-and-learn experience such as Xtern Semester would help achieve IUPUI Chancellor Nasser Paydar’s goal of making an impact and connecting with the local tech community.

"The reality is, this is the fastest growing sector of our economy. Tech sector employment has grown 67 percent between 2010 and 2016." says Langellier. "We see this as a pipeline, a talent pipeline into our tech ecosystem."

Langellier says Xtern Semester builds on the overall Xtern program. He says, at the beginning of that program, about 19 percent of participants say they want to live and work in Indianapolis; by the end, more than 70 percent say they want to stay.

The university will also provide supplemental workshops on soft skills and workplace readiness. The program's first cohort will consist of 12 students working at employers including Angie's List, Appirio, GEICO, Vibenomics and Viral Launch, among others. The students will also earn academic credit through the program while working at least 20 hours per week.