Alleviating Brain Drain


Robbie Lillquist 13 ID and Daniel Chang 13 ID will get some stately attention tomorrow morning when Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee announces the emergence of bRIdge, a new program that connects college students with local employers. Both designers will talk about their summer internships at Hasbro, the RI-based toy company where Tuesday’s press conference takes place.

According to Susan Andersen, assistant director of RISD’s Career Centeer, Lillquist and Chang added substantial cred to their résumés thanks to their experience at Hasbro. This makes them attractive to potential employers, and quite possibly, could lead to post-graduation jobs. “They got first-hand experience [designing] a toy product,” she says. “They explored it from a wide range of angles - what’s the competition, what’s been done by the company, how can this product be unique.”

Stories like these are exactly what bRIdge likes to see. Intensive internships cut down on “brain drain,” the mass exodus of talented graduates who leave the state due to dismal employment opportunities. “We want companies in Rhode Island to support internships, talent and creativity,” Andersen says. “They can entice students to stay if the internships lead to full-time jobs.” 


In addition to providing networking opportunities, the program is also launching a free web board where students can search for internships posted by local employers. 

The bRIdge program is overseen by members of the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority, the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of RI (which RISD is a member of) and Rhode Island’s public colleges and universities.

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