New PrepareRI Internship Places 100 Students with Top Rhode Island Employers

PROVIDENCE, RI - Governor Gina M. Raimondo, Rhode Island's leading employers and other stakeholders gathered together Wednesday to celebrate the launch of a new internship program that will provide 100 high school students with hands-on work experience in industries including technology, health care, finance, education, manufacturing and construction. The PrepareRI Internship Program builds on Governor Raimondo's goal of having work-based learning in every high school in the state and preparing students with the skills they need for the jobs of the future. 

The application period is now open. Students selected to participate will jumpstart their careers through professional skills training, on-the-job experience, and connections to adult mentors who can help them achieve their career goals. The internships are paid, and students will also earn six college credits transferable to any college or university. 

"Seventy percent of jobs in Rhode Island will require some form of postsecondary education or training, making work-based learning a critical piece of our workforce development strategy," said Governor Raimondo. "The PrepareRI Internship Program builds a strong talent pipeline for Rhode Island businesses and gives our young people a head start, allowing them to hone soft skills and learn on the job so they are better prepared for success after high school."

Summer 2018 is the pilot year for PrepareRI Internships, an initiative of the Governor's Workforce Board that is being managed by an independent intermediary, Skills for Rhode Island's Future (SkillsRI). SkillsRI will vet and match rising high school seniors to internship opportunities after the application period closes on April 15. 

"For the past few years, more and more employers have expressed concerns about not having enough skilled talent in Rhode Island. The GWB is thrilled to see the overwhelming response from employers to host high school interns and invest in the workforce of their future," said Heather Hudson, Executive Director of the Governor's Workforce Board. "Providing our young people with access to real-life work experiences and professional mentors right here in Rhode Island will build their skillsets for good-paying jobs, which will in turn enable our businesses to thrive."

The program is made possible through a New Skills for Youth grant from JPMorgan Chase and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) that supports career education. Rhode Island was one of only 10 states to receive the grant. Roger Williams University and The Partnership for Rhode Island, a coalition of Rhode Island business leaders, are sponsoring the costs of the college credits.

For employers, the PrepareRI Internship program responds to concerns about the lack of skilled talent by building a pipeline of young, diverse, skilled workers who can keep RI's future economy vibrant and strong. More than 20 employers have signed on to the effort, including Citizens Bank, Amgen, Hasbro, CVS, and Gilbane. 

"The Partnership for Rhode Island is excited to host high school interns in our companies across the state and support their attainment of college credit. This program strengthens our state's talent pipeline and gives high school students the type of professional experience that is usually reserved for budding college graduates," said Tom Giordano, Executive Director of The Partnership for Rhode Island. "We applaud the Governor, the GWB and Roger Williams University for their ingenuity and hard work in developing this program and look forward to helping shape the next generation of young professionals."

"This program is a win for employers and students across Rhode Island. At Citizens Bank, we look forward to providing high school students with positive and stimulating learning experiences this summer," said Barbara Cottam, Executive Vice President and Head of Corporate Affairs for Citizens Bank. "We are proud to be a champion employer in the PrepareRI Internship program and introduce young people to career opportunities in the state and at our company." 

SkillsRI will work with employers to develop internship descriptions before vetting and matching students with employers based on interests, required skills, and location. SkillsRI will prepare students for their work experiences through a week-long professional training on essential skills and expectations in the workplace. Additionally, SkillsRI will provide ongoing support to students and employer supervisors throughout the summer to ensure that all participants have a successful experience. 

"As an organization with a proven record of demand-driven workforce solutions, the PrepareRI Internship program was a natural fit for SkillsRI. We are committed to building out career pathways for Rhode Islanders to strengthen our workforce and satisfy the needs of our employers," said Nina Pande, Executive Director of Skills for Rhode Island's Future.
The PrepareRI Internship program is open to all rising high school seniors in public high schools in Rhode Island. Applications must be completed online and are due April 15. After a week-long preparation training, student interns will work directly with employers for six to eight weeks, 25-35 hours per week. Interns will be paid for all hours worked.

For more information and a link to the student application, visit: 
https://www.prepare-ri.org/internships/