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Social impact internship program funded

The ILR Buffalo Co-Lab has announced a $50,000 planning grant from The John R. Oishei Foundation to develop and launch an engaged learning internship program that will enlist Cornell undergraduate students in creating, supporting and building capacity of data-driven, community-based projects in Buffalo.

A key objective of the program will be to recruit and engage students who are relatively new to or unfamiliar with the world of data science.

“Students will receive hands-on training in data collection, analysis, and mapping – skills they will then put to use in impactful Western New York community projects that communicate timely, relevant and actionable information in accessible and easily understandable ways,” said Rusty Weaver, director of research for the ILR Buffalo Co-Lab. Weaver will oversee the internship program.

Outputs and projects supported by the internship program – including the New York State Digital Equity mapping portal that the Co-Lab is developing with state and local partners – will be publicly available.

“We know that community and government stakeholders need and use this type of information as references to support their advocacy, policy and program work,” said Cathy Creighton, director of the ILR Buffalo Co-Lab. By learning data skills in the context of social change-oriented projects, students participating in the program will gain a lifelong view of data analysis as an invaluable tool for strengthening democracy, she said. 

This internship supports Good DEEDs, a Co-Lab initiative tasked with democratizing data in order to provide an empirical basis for ensuring that development and community change in and beyond Upstate New York follows a high road to shared prosperity for all residents.

Since 1946, ILR has played a vital role in the region, working in partnership with businesses, unions, government, education and community organizations to build an economy that works for all. It hosts the High Road Fellowship undergraduate summer program, offers Labor Leadership training, health and safety training, and collaborates with a local community-based think tank, Partnership for the Public Good,  a public knowledge resource that includes a digital library and a researcher network in Western New York.

The John R. Oishei Foundation enhances the economic vitality and quality of life for the Buffalo-Niagara region through grantmaking, leadership and network building.

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