4 Tips for Launching a Paid Internship Program
March 30, 2017
Experienced colleges share key insights
Since 2013, we've seen first-hand the benefits of paid internships for low-income students. In fact, 56 four-year colleges have implemented programs with the help of our Career Ready Internship grant. As part of our ongoing support, we regularly get our grantees together to share effective practices and learn from one another.
Here are four key insights shared by Ashland University, Lakeland University, Loras College and Simpson College during a February 20th webinar:
1. Start Building Employer Relationships Early
Getting employers to commit to the program and onboarded takes longer than you may think. Reach out to employers a semester or two before your program goes live. Create guidelines so employers know exactly what they are committing to, including: payment processes and deadlines, student hours, wages and schedules, etc.
2. Collaborate Across Your Entire Campus
Establishing broad buy-in dramatically improves your program's chance of success. Faculty can help promote the program to students and help find employers. Work closely with Financial Aid to easily identify eligible students and the Business Office to expedite student payroll.
3. Prioritize Student Recruitment
Recruiting more students and employers than you think you'll need is always a good idea. Even when positions are filled, students may need to reduce their work hours or drop out of the program. Having a "bull pen" of new recruits will help ensure all internship money is paid out.
4. Stay on Top of Data Tracking
Embracing data tracking is a vital part of grant reporting. Get your processes in place before your program is up and running. Many colleges use a spreadsheet to stay current on the number of hours students work, wages paid and employer evaluations.
Scholarships Help Wisconsin Apprentices Advance from Classroom to Career
CVTC Single Mom Gets $1,000 Scholarship and Peace of Mind to Support Her Family
Dana Ray of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, was unsatisfied with the traditional life choices she had made at 18. After earning a bachelor's degree she became an elementary school teacher. But as a recently single mother of four young children, she was struggling to pay her bills.
So she took a leap—and followed in her father's footsteps—to begin an electrician apprenticeship. Now Dana works at B&B Electric and takes classes at Chippewa Valley Technical College.
"I was so excited to have the opportunity that the lower starting pay didn't discourage me," she said. "But as I advance in my apprenticeship my needs for more job-specific tools are increasing."
Electrical apprentices unfortunately earn the lowest wages of the construction and industrial trades, despite the state's high demand for electricians. According to the Department of Workforce Development, electrician jobs are projected to grow 11% through 2024.
To address Wisconsin's skills gap and help ease the burden faced by apprentices with financial need, Great Lakes began offering Tools of the Trade $1,000 Apprentice Scholarships in 2013. Since then, 94% of recipients have either completed or continued their training the following semester.
Dana is one of 200 apprentices who were awarded $1,000 scholarships in March 2017 to help cover their tuition, tools, clothing and other expenses.
"This scholarship provides peace of mind to help me and my family get by," Dana said. "Now I can buy warm clothes for work outside, new tools to replace ones I've borrowed, and the 2017 National Electric Code book so I can study for the state exam."
To date, Great Lakes has awarded nearly $600,000 to Wisconsin apprentices in the construction and industrial trades.
Ohio Apprentices Now Eligible for $200,000 in Scholarships
Great Lakes is expanding our successful apprentice scholarship program to Ohio, so more apprentices with financial need can complete their training and advance to good jobs. We partnered with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) to offer $1,000 scholarships to 200 construction and manufacturing apprentices attending Ohio community colleges.
If you're in a position to share, please help us spread the word. Applications will be posted on the ODJFS website from April 3-14, 2017.
With the $200,000 in scholarships we'll award in Ohio this May, our support for the Midwest's hardworking apprentices will total nearly $800,000 to date.
Receive information about grant opportunities, initiatives, and the progress we're making together.
Catch Up On Recent News
October 19, 2017
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Find out what it takes to launch a successful program
Career Ready Internship Grant Closing Report
Learn best practices from our grant partners
Dash Emergency Grant Closing Report
Learn best practices from colleges with successful programs!