"When the college collaborates with businesses like Sykes, our students benefit," said UVa-Wise Chancellor David J. Prior. "Thanks to this agreement, UVa-Wise students will have greater access to paid internships and to full-time employment after they graduate."
Under the terms of the memorandum of understanding signed by the parties on Monday, Sykes will provide:
â€¢Paid student internships for full-time students in accounting, business, economics, communications or other majors related to development of management and leadership skills.
â€¢Employment opportunities for graduates with majors related to management and leadership.
â€¢An annual scholarship for a student or students enrolled in those avenues of study.
â€¢In-kind contributions to those management/leadership majors, including service on the college's Department of Business and Economics Advisory Board and as a source for adjunct faculty and guest speakers.
â€¢Paid international internships by making available funding to the extent practicable. If available, international internships would be offered to students enrolled in the stipulated majors.
"A lot of the success we've had over the last six years at our facility in Wise is due to the graduates of UVa-Wise," said Todd McReynolds, operations manager for the Sykes facility at the Lonesome Pine Regional Business and Technology Park, located next to Lonesome Pine Airport.
McReynolds is a 2000 graduate of UVa-Wise.
McReynolds and David Kendall, chair of the college's Business and Economics Department, have worked over the past six months to forge the pact inked Monday.
"We're excited about the progress we're making today," Kendall said. "Our goal is to develop a program that will benefit students headed for careers in management and leadership. UVa-Wise students who join the program will get a career head start, one-on-one mentoring, and valuable work experience while they complete their degrees."
UVa-Wise Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Gil Blackburn called the agreement a "showcase of college and corporate collaboration" and said Monday marked "the beginning of something really important for UVa-Wise."
With headquarters in Tampa, Fla., Sykes specializes in customer support outsourcing solutions with an emphasis on inbound technical support and customer service.
Sykes provides various business support services worldwide including multilingual sales order processing, payment processing, inventory control, product delivery and product returns handling. The company's Wise County facility employs about 400 people.