Since its pilot year in 2017, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and Oregon Sea Grant have administered the OASE program through funding obtained by an EPA Pollution Prevention grant. Third- and fourth-year college students and graduate students are recruited to conduct research that helps Oregon businesses reach their waste prevention and sustainability goals. Students are located at the business fulltime for 10 weeks during the summer. The EPA grant helps offset program costs, and intern stipends are administered by Oregon Sea Grant.
This is a win-win program that supports environmental workforce development, waste reduction, environmental protection and economic savings.
The OASE team works with various companies within Oregon to identify projects that may benefit from participation in the program. Through this program, the OASE team enters into agreements with these companies to identify the roles and responsibilities of the host company and the OASE team in accomplishing the project. The OASE team then identifies and recruits undergraduate and graduate students with skill sets that may make them successful in completing the types of projects that are submitted by companies and vetted by the OASE team. The OASE team pairs these interns and their respective skills and interests with the participating company’s proposed project to develop project assignments.
The OASE team provides technical and program support to the interns throughout the project. The host company’s identified site coordinator is also available to provide on-site resources and support to the interns. The interns develop recommendations for improvements that follow the Program’s goals and prepare reports detailing their efforts and any results of implementation, if applicable. The OASE team will publish a summary of these reports and follow-up with participating companies regarding implementation to verify savings and other benefits.
All information gathered and reported to the OASE team under this program is confidential. The only published documents are the case summaries prepared by the interns, which are reviewed and approved by the companies at the end of the internship. The OASE team also uses these case summaries for reporting and program marketing purposes.