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Great Lakes Grant Creates Over 2,000 Paid Internships for Students

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An internship can provide college students with valuable workplace skills and networking opportunities that lead to job offers after graduation. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 65% of students who take part in paid internships are offered full-time jobs.

But not all internships are paid opportunities, and many students with financial need can't afford to work without pay and stay enrolled in college, so they miss out on the chance to gain a competitive edge. That's why Great Lakes makes Career Ready Internship Grants, committing $5.2 million to 40 colleges and universities across Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin for the 2014-2015 academic year.

Schools receiving grants will collaborate with local businesses and nonprofits to develop new paid internships—and convert existing unpaid internships into paid opportunities. Internships funded under the grant give juniors and seniors with financial need real-world experience within their fields of study, and a better chance at competing for jobs with more affluent peers.

The grants mark a dramatic expansion of a successful program. Great Lakes ran a $2.5 million pilot, making grants to help 19 Wisconsin colleges and universities create paid internships for the 2013-2014 academic year. Participating in an internship did more than just provide these students with a paycheck; it improved their odds of progressing toward college completion. In fact, 98% of interns either re-enrolled the next semester or graduated.

"We place a premium on ideas that work, and our Career Ready Internship grants help level the playing field for students who receive financial aid," said Richard D. George, Great Lakes' president and chief executive officer. "This program has the added benefit of developing relationships of lasting value between colleges and employers."

This year, Great Lakes philanthropy will make a positive impact on more than 2,000 students who might not otherwise consider—and profit from—internships.

Meet our 2014-2015 Career Ready Internship grant recipients

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