Applications for the second year of the Prepare Rhode Island (PrepareRI) Internship Program are now available and will be accepted through Feb. 1, 2019.
Launched in the summer of 2018, the PrepareRI Internship Program provides paid summer internships to rising high school seniors, who also have the opportunity to earn up to six college credits at no cost. Students can apply online on the PrepareRI website.
In its first year, 162 students participated, working at 46 partner companies and organizations statewide. PrepareRI Internship employers represent a diverse array of industries, from health care and finance to technology and public policy, including some of the state’s leading businesses, such as Amgen, Bank of America, CVS, Citizen’s Bank, FM Global, Hasbro, and Lifespan.
“The first year of the PrepareRI Internship Program was a tremendous success, with students earning money, gaining critical work skills, and making connections that will help them as they move forward in their career paths,” said Governor Gina Raimondo. “These kinds of hands-on, work-based experiences make learning come alive, helping to support students be successful in the classroom, in college, and in the workforce.”
The internship program is one component of PrepareRI, a statewide initiative aligned to industry to prepare all Rhode Island youth with the skills they need for high-wage, high-growth careers. This comprehensive statewide strategy also includes dual and concurrent enrollment early college opportunities, career and technical education, Advanced Placement and the Advanced Course Network, among others.
The initiative represents a strategic partnership between Rhode Island government, private industry leaders, the public education system, universities, and non-profits across the state. The Governor’s Workforce Board (GWB) is one of the agencies helping to coordinate the PrepareRI work overall, and they are the lead agency for the PrepareRI Internship Program. GWB works with an independent intermediary, Skills for Rhode Island’s Future (SkillsRI), which vets and matches students to internship opportunities.
“The Governor’s Workforce Board believes that work-based learning for young people is a critical component of the state’s workforce development strategy,” said Mike Grey, chair of the Governor’s Workforce Board. “Work-based learning experiences like the PrepareRI internship program not only give students the chance to build essential skills and explore career paths, but also help ensure that our employers have a pipeline of talent that is prepared to thrive in the workplace.”
In order to participate in the internship, applicants must first attend an orientation session with a parent or guardian in February or March. Students are then invited to interview for job opportunities, often going through the interview and resume writing process for the first time. From there, students attend a Work Readiness Boot Camp, a 40-hour, week-long onboarding in June that prepares them for what they will face in the workforce. The Boot Camp covers important work skills like public speaking, team building, problem solving, and the expectations of employers.
In July and August, students ultimately accepted to the program will complete between 150 and 240 hours with their chosen employer.
“In our first year, we received more than 600 applications for only 100 advertised spots. Thanks to the incredible interest and support of the business community, and working alongside GWB, we were able to grow the program to 162 spots in our inaugural class. This year, we continue to grow and anticipate placing up to 300 students in exciting, challenging opportunities with Rhode Island employers,” said Nina Pande, Executive Director of Skills for Rhode Island’s Future.
PrepareRI launched in 2017, after Rhode Island was one of only 10 states awarded New Skills for Youth funding from JPMorgan Chase and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). Learn more about PrepareRI and how students, educators, and employers can get involved at Prepare-RI.org.