Boston – The Boston Foundation today announced that four Massachusetts community colleges will share $426,656 in grants to invest in expanding and strengthening their internship offerings for STEM students – part of overall efforts to broaden the availability of paid internships to community college students statewide.
The colleges, Bunker Hill Community College, Massasoit Community College, Middlesex Community College and North Shore Community College, have each developed their plans with an eye toward expanding internship opportunities and increasing the number of local connections to businesses. Research released by the Boston Foundation in 2019 showed that a large majority of paid internships in the state were awarded to four-year college students, limiting opportunities for community college students to get needed career experience and income to support themselves during their studies.
“While these programs take different approaches, they highlight a number of critical elements: they recognize the importance of paid internships, the need for adequate staff and student supports, the necessity of true employer partnerships, and an intentional focus on equity,” said Paul Grogan, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation. “We look forward to working with each of these programs as we charter an effort to build a stronger network of equitable, accessible internship programs across the system.”
Examples of the strategies from the colleges include:
Bunker Hill Community College ($115,000) plans to add Faculty Liaisons to serve as points of contact for STEM internships, adding new STEM internship courses, and dedicate funds to bolster student compensation and improve tracking of STEM internship data by race, gender and STEM field.
Massasoit Community College ($104,036) plans to expand staffing to develop employer partnerships and provide supports for students seeking and performing internships, create an Internship Advisory Board to network the college with employers around issues including equity, and develop of a new capstone internship opportunity for IT students.
Middlesex Community College ($112,966) plans to implement the Northeast Regional Internship Program. It will hire a program coordinator to oversee program research and design. Working with the Career Development team to provide career supports for students, the coordinator will help cultivate new industry partnerships, conduct an examination of regional STEM employers to better understand their needs and expectations, and intentionally set the stage for expansion of the program to other nearby community colleges.
North Shore Community College ($94,654) plans tocreate a DEI-Based Experiential Learning & Internship Pathway for STEM students to provide tiered experiential options, including work-based learning and paid “micro-internships,” designed to develop students’ professional and career skills. This model will address disparities to improve current and future preparation for the workplace to ensure access to family-sustaining wages and equitable job opportunities in a changing environment.
The Boston Foundation’s 2019 report Uncovering Hidden Talent:Community College Internships that Pay and Pay Off for Students and Employers explored the state of paid internship opportunities in Massachusetts and offered a number of examples of alternative programs in other states. Theses grants were made possible by Success Boston, in partnership with Boston Foundation donors with an interest in education.