More than $4 million in grants will pay students’ salaries in STEM jobs at local companies.
BOSTON – The Baker-Polito Administration is launching a new internship program that will provide an additional 2,300 high school students with opportunities for paid work experiences in STEM fields and make it easier for companies to hire students by paying their salaries through local MassHire Career Centers and Workforce Boards. Approximately $4 million in grants will be awarded to the 16 regional Workforce Boards and 24 Career Centers across the Commonwealth, enabling them to pay students directly for the first time.
“This new STEM internship program will give more students across the Commonwealth foundational opportunities to gain meaningful work experience,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Under this program, employers and students will both benefit as the hiring process is streamlined and internships are made more financially feasible for both parties.”
“As Co-Chair of the STEM Advisory Council, I have heard from STEM employers and students that making connections early and often to STEM careers is critical to growing our economy,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “With this new program, we are targeting the barriers around short-term employment and recruiting young people, and by addressing these gaps, our administration hopes to boost the pipeline of STEM talent streaming into the Commonwealth’s workforce.”
With this new internship program, more than 10,000 students annually will participate in state-sponsored internships when combined with the Connecting Activities program. Connecting Activities is a joint initiative of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Department of Labor and Workforce Development that supports college and career readiness for high school students by partnering with local MassHire Workforce Boards to connect schools with businesses. Each year, approximately 7,700 high school students participate in Connecting Activities internships.
The new internship program aims to help more students – with preference given to those who live in communities significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic – gain high-quality, paid internships in STEM fields to prepare them for future career and college opportunities. The internships can take place during the summer or school year and can be either in-person or virtual, with a goal of 100 hours of work experience for each student.
“Here in the Commonwealth the growth industries are in STEM occupations, so the inclusion of more students is very important,” said Education Secretary James Peyser. “Through these internships we want more high school students to gain work experience with STEM employers so they are able to make wise college and career decisions.”
Working with the MassHire Career Centers and Workforce Boards will provide students access to professionals who can help them prepare resumes, job applications and help coordinate with potential employers.
“Introducing youth across the Commonwealth to career possibilities in the high-demand STEM sector through paid internships is a win-win for students and employers,” said Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rosalin Acosta. “Our regional MassHire Career Centers and Workforce Boards are the perfect vehicle to connect potential interns and employers, while assisting with program logistics.”
A portion of the grant funding will also be awarded to MassLife Sciences Center and Mass Cyber Center to expand their existing internship programs by an additional 300 students.
The Administration will highlight this new STEM internship opportunity with employers during the upcoming STEM Summit, to be held virtually and in-person at regional locations across the Commonwealth. Register for the 2022 STEM Summit this Thursday, April 28th here.