The integrated retailer hopes to help retain local talent and create more jobs for the community
By Caitlyn Finnegan
The Gainesville community will soon welcome yet another big name to Innovation Square.
Integrated retailer Sears Holdings Corp. announced Monday that it has chosen Gainesville as the base for its new internship program, the Technology Undergraduate Educational Partnership.
Sears partnered with the Council for Economic Outreach and the University of Florida to bring the program to Gainesville, citing successful town-gown collaborations and UF’s ability to provide a steady supply of high-quality students as influencers, according to Cammy Abernathy, dean of UF’s College of Engineering.
“Sears Holdings Corporation, and specifically technology, remains committed to our vision of a highly skilled, diverse workforce,” said Keith Sherwell, Chief Information Officer of Sears Holdings. “As we looked for a partner to pilot a new way of working, the University of Florida matched our commitment to innovation and high standards of excellence. We look forward to embarking on a fruitful partnership benefitting Sears, the University of Florida and the Gainesville community.”
Officials from Sears Holdings said the company will conduct interviews over the next few weeks to help fill the 25 spots available for the program’s first class. Students studying computer engineering, industrial engineering, digital arts, statistics and mathematics will have the opportunity to apply for internships with the program.
Starting this summer, the first group of interns will be placed in offices either in San Jose, Texas, or Chicago to work with project teams. When students return in the fall, they will continue to correspond with their project teams from a Sears office set to open in Innovation Square in the coming months.
The ultimate goal of the program is to establish a “Center of Excellence” development center, where students can continue to work with the company after graduation.
Sears Holdings has more than 2,600 full-line and specialty retail stores in the United States and Canada. It includes home appliance, tool and lawn and garden brands such as Kenmore, Craftsman and Diehard, as well as apparel labels such as Lands’ End, Everlast, The Country Living Home Collection and Joe Boxer.