One of the key factors to acquiring a challenging and exciting position upon graduation is having pertinent experience.
The question is…how to get that experience if you haven’t yet earned an MLIS degree?
The answer is…the Partners Program.
Employers are seeking information professionals with the MLIS degree from an accredited program, as well as those with some pertinent professional experience. There are several opportunities to acquire practical experience while you pursue your MLIS degree. The Pitt Partners Program addresses this need for experiential learning, which helps enhance your resume and the likelihood of gainful employment after completing your program of study.
Host institutions utilize Partners students in a wide variety of professional positions in cataloguing, reference, special collections, interlibrary loan, metadata creation, technical services, records management, public services, and digital curation.
All placements begin in the fall term and require a commitment of three consecutive terms.
Students offered placement that may involve contact with children will be required to submit three clearances, including Pennsylvania child abuse, criminal history, and FBI fingerprinting to the Partners Program office prior to the start of the program.
Over 65 of the finest institutions in the Pittsburgh area have participated in the Pitt Partners Program. Learn more about them here.
ELIGIBILITYPitt Partners Program students must be full-time or part-time MLIS students attending classes on-campus or online. Partners placements are only available to U.S. citizens.
To renew the Partners Program placement each term, the student must:
- Maintain a 3.0 GPA;
- Earn a grade of at least a “B” in each core course, and a grade of at least “C” in each elective course;
- Have no "G" grades (incomplete)
All Partners Program students must attend one group meeting per term for the purpose of information sharing and an enhanced experiential work experience. Dates and times for these meetings will be announced at the start of the academic year.
Students are required to submit a reflective report at the end of their Partners Program placement in which they will evaluate their experiences related to the MLIS Goals for Graduates, as well as provide general feedback on the experience and host site.
- Placements are for three consecutive terms of study: fall, spring, and summer.
- Partners Program placements are 10-15 hours/week with very few exceptions. It is the student’s responsibility to arrive on their scheduled work days on time, and contact their supervisor if this expectation cannot be met.
- Any changes to the parameters of the Partners placement agreement, such as additional hours or holiday hours, must be approved by the host institution and the student.
- Student work schedules follow the University calendar. When the University is not in session, the student is not expected to work at the host site.
- The student must meet weekly work requirements and maintain satisfactory performance as determined by the Partner site supervisor. Site supervisor evaluations are due at the end of each term and must be discussed with the student.
- Communication is essential. Both supervisor and student should feel comfortable discussing any issue that either feel is hindering a successful experience. If the issue cannot be resolved after discussion, the Partners Program administrator should be contacted to assist in resolution.
- The host institution has the authority to terminate a placement for unsatisfactory performance. It is expected that every attempt will be made to address any performance issues. If attempts are unsuccessful, the Partners supervisor should contact the Partners Program administrator and then follow up with a written request.
- If a student is removed from their Partners placement due to failure to meet the required GPA at the end of the fall term, the host site will be notified by the Partners Program administrator. Participation in the Partners Program may resume in the summer term if the student meets the minimum 3.0 GPA at the end of the spring term and the Partner site supervisor is agreeable to reinstatement of the placement.
- Partners Program students that are paid a salary will receive an hourly wage paid according to the host site’s payroll schedule. Students that are paid a stipend will receive it at the end of the month or at the end of each term depending on the host site’s payment schedule.
HOW TO APPLYIf you have submitted your application to the MLIS Program, you will be sent an email in mid-February advising you that the application process for the Pitt Partners Program is open. Included will be instructions and links to the application form, as well as Partner host site job descriptions.
- Partners placement details, including required skills, backgrounds, and job descriptions will be available on the Pitt Partners website.
- Applications are sent to participating Partner sites in early spring.
- It is the responsibility of the student to understand the demands of the position, as well as transportation, salary, or stipend details. Not all placements require previous library experience, and many host sites consider customer service to be an appropriate background.
- Host site supervisors will review student applications and contact applicants directly. Telephone interviews will be conducted or, if the student is local, a face-to-face interview may be requested.
- Once the review and interview processes are complete, it is at the discretion of the Partner host site to extend an offer of placement to their chosen candidate(s).
- Once a candidate is selected for placement and the student accepts, a letter containing details regarding the placement is sent from the School of Computing and Information, requiring formal acceptance by the student.
What is the Pitt Partners Program?
The Partners Program is an innovative out-of-the-classroom opportunity that permits students to gain critical professional experience and skills at Pittsburgh’s regional libraries, information centers, archives, cultural institutions, and corporations.
What is the benefit to participating in the Partners Program?
You will gain real-world experience in professional libraries and information centers. It's a great opportunity to put what you learn in the classroom into practice. Many employers are looking for applicants with experience -- this is your chance to add such experience to your résumé.
How do I apply?
If you have submitted your application to the MLIS Program, you will be sent an email in mid-February advising you that the application process for the Partners Program is open. Included will be instructions and links to the application form, as well as Partners host site job descriptions.
Is the Pitt Partners Program a form of financial assistance?
Partners Program monetary compensation is earned, not awarded. Some host organizations may offer compensation, in either the form of a stipend or an hourly wage. Information about scholarships, awards, fellowships, and assistantships can be found here.
Do all placements carry funding from the host institutions?
No, compensation is at the discretion of the host organization. Host organizations that do offer compensation will do so either in the form of an hourly wage or a stipend paid per term.
How many terms is the placement and is it automatically renewable?
A Partners Program award is for three consecutive terms: fall, spring, and summer. Placements are awarded for the fall term and are automatically renewed for the subsequent spring and summer terms provided that the student meets the academic and work requirements outlined in the Student Eligibility & Requirements.
If I do not receive placement for fall, can I reapply for future terms?
A student who is not placed in the fall cannot reapply for a subsequent term. Placements begin in the fall term only.
Do you have to be enrolled as a full-time student to participate in the Program?
No, both full-time and part-time students attending classes on-campus or online are eligible for the Partners Program.
How many hours must I work each week and how much is the salary or stipend?
Work commitment is 10-15 hours per week. The host institution determines the number of hours for a given position, but days and hours are set according to your class schedule by you and your host supervisor. Salary and stipend amounts are determined by the host institution.
Can I work more than the proscribed 10-15 hours per week if requested by a Partners site?
Yes, as long as the additional hours are agreeable to both student and Partner and do not exceed 20 hours per week per University policy.
If I am offered two 10-hour placements, can I accept both?
In fairness to all prospective students, a student will initially be permitted to accept only one offer of a Partners placement.
Are there Partners Program positions available for student enrolled in one of the School's other degree programs?
Not at this time.
Interested in working with our MLIS students? Click here to learn more about becoming a host site.