Career Ready Internship Grant

Internships offer college students numerous benefits, but too often they are unpaid—and out of reach for low-income students.

Current Grant

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With our Career Ready Internship Grant program, we've seen firsthand the benefits of paid internships at four-year institutions. Now we want to learn how two-year colleges can successfully establish and administer paid internship programs for their low-income students. To do that, we awarded $2.1 million in Career Ready Internship grants to 16 community colleges. In the next two years, we'll be examining the unique needs these two-year institutions face in establishing and administering 1,000 paid internships.

These grants provide funding for partner colleges in six states to build programs that support students with financial need, offering paid internship opportunities relevant to their area of study.

These 16 applicants were chosen because they clearly and compellingly described plans to:

  • Implement thoughtful and strategic ways of recruiting students and promoting the internship program to employers
  • Support students throughout the duration of their internships
  • Assign clear and reasonable roles to campus faculty and staff to ensure the efficient administration of the program

Our 16 partner colleges are currently in the capacity-building period. They are busy recruiting employers to match with low-income students for new paid internship opportunities, ultimately improving students' prospects for finding work in their chosen fields after graduation.

Open Section Recipients


Our largest Career Ready Internship grant to date: a record $12.2 million awarded to 33 colleges and universities in Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. Over the three-year grant period, they'll create paid internships for students with demonstrated financial need.

Through this grant, partner colleges are giving low-income juniors and seniors the chance to work in their field of study—and enter the job market after graduation on equal footing with their wealthier peers. As of spring 2017 semester, more than 3,300 students participated in paid internships, working with nearly 2,100 unique employers. College-reported data indicates that these students earned $5.2 million in wages and 97% of them either graduated or re-enrolled the semester following their internship.

In addition to the funds provided by Great Lakes, the colleges are also making a significant commitment to the program by contributing incremental matching funds. By sharing the cost, they're doing their part to sustain the program beyond 2018, and continue giving students the benefits paid internships provide.

We are also working with MDRC, a leading social and education policy research organization, to conduct a multifaceted evaluation of the data collected by our partner colleges. The study will cover a number of topics, including student retention and persistence, college-employer relationships, program implementation and scalability, and sustainability. Look for periodic reports during the grant period and a full report after the program concludes.

Open Section Recipients


Contact Program Manager Supervisor Nikki Wachter at or (888) 889-3299.

October 19, 2017

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