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Paid internships are coming to low-income students

By AACC 21st Century Center Staff

The Career Ready Internship Grant will help two-year colleges provide paid internships for students.

There’s no doubt that internships increase students’ likelihood of finding a job after college. Many internships are unpaid, though, meaning low-income students who need a paying job miss out on the opportunity to develop professional skills and make important contacts.

Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates first began funding paid internships for low-income students at four-year institutions in 2013 through the Career Ready Internship Grant. Of the participating students, 98 percent either graduated or continued in their academic programs the following semester. So now Great Lakes is expanding the program to help students at two-year colleges.  It awarded a combined $2.1 million to 16 community and technical colleges across Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Internship wages and other expenses will be covered. The colleges are tasked with establishing and administering a total of 1,000 internships. They’ll partner with employers in their communities and “build their internal capacity to recruit students, match them with available internships related to their academic programs and provide them the support they need to succeed,” according to a Great Lakes release.

“Our goal with this grant is to learn how two-year schools can build a self-sustaining paid internship program. We hope that the knowledge we gain will serve as a blueprint that can be used to create successful internship programs at community colleges across the nation,” said Great Lakes President and CEO Richard D. George.

Inver Hills Community College in Minnesota was awarded a $159,605 grant. An anticipated 61 new paid internships will be created during the 2017–2018 academic year.

“These internships will help increase graduation and job placement rates while showcasing fresh, talented potential employees,” President Tim Wynes said.

At North Arkansas College, students have participated in internships, but the majority of them were unpaid.  The college received a $96,000 grant.

“According to research, 63 percent of paid interns get at least one job offer, while just 37 percent of unpaid interns get an offer. At Northark, 85 percent of grads find employment in their chosen field within six months,” President Randy Esters said.

The paid internships will begin September 2017.

Let’s talk more about internships on LinkedIn.

AACC 21st Century Center Staff

is a contributor to the 21st-Century Center.