Governor Patrick Announces Funding for New High School Clean Energy Internship Program

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Kathryn Niforos
Celebrates Success of Statewide Technology, Life Sciences and Clean Energy Internship Programs
Jun 13, 2014 –

Contact Heather Nichols, Rachael Neff, Juli Hanscom - 617-725-4025

Governor Deval Patrick today celebrated the success of internship programs run by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) and Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MassTech) and announced $435,000 in awards for the first round of MassCEC’s Learn and Earn program, which will provide funding for programs to prepare high school students for higher learning opportunities and careers in clean energy and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

“Training young people for careers in STEM will put them on the path for future success,” said Governor Patrick. “Internship programs are working to ensure that innovative Massachusetts companies have a rich pipeline of talented workers to help their businesses flourish here in the Commonwealth.”

The internship programs run by MassCEC, MLSC and MassTech have placed over 2,300 interns at companies across the Commonwealth over the past five years. Each of Friday’s grant recipients will receive $145,000 in funding for their programs.

“Massachusetts is a hub of innovation and having a strong talent pipeline is vital to the continued growth of our innovation economy,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Greg Bialecki. “These internships help our companies recruit and retain top talent in our Commonwealth.”  

“Employers need access to highly-trained workers as they look to expand their businesses here in the Commonwealth,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Maeve Vallely Bartlett, who also chairs the MassCEC Board of Directors. “These grants will ensure that the next generation of clean energy workers is exposed at an early age to the benefits of careers in the growing clean energy industry.”

Institutions receiving funds are:

  • Brockton High School – This program will allow 30 Brockton High School juniors and seniors to learn about various sectors of clean energy, and then work on projects, possibly including the construction of a solar-powered pump to water the school’s garden beds and building a solar-powered weather station at the school. Students will also have the opportunity to earn college credit through Bridgewater State University’s “Energy and its Social Uses” course
  • Greater Lawrence Technical School - This program will train 24 students this summer, and 60 more over the fall and spring, in the installation of solar electric panels for both commercial and residential uses. The students will train on ground-level, full-sized practice roofs and students will install a fully-functional solar electric system at the school as a final project.
  • Northeastern University and John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science – This program will educate 25 students around clean energy topics, while providing support for high school students preparing to pass Advanced Placement calculus exams, which can earn students college credit.

In April, Governor Patrick announced an economic development package that provides new tools and training so the Commonwealth’s workforce is prepared to meet the needs of employers, invests in its Gateway Cities to promote development across the entire state and provides incentives to create jobs and stimulate the economy. The Governor’s bill,An Act to Promote Growth and Opportunity, builds on the Administration’s proven growth strategy of investing in education, innovation and infrastructure that has led to record job creation in Massachusetts and made the Commonwealth a global leader in key innovation economy sectors. The bill supports the future workforce of the innovation economy by investing in internships and mentoring programs to ensure that the pool of potential employees in the Commonwealth is trained and experienced in our high tech industries. The Innovation Institute leads the MassTech’s technology and innovation initiatives. The internship program provides grants to qualifying high tech companies to hire interns, providing students with experience and networking opportunities. The mentoring program provides entrepreneurs with access to advice and support. 

In response to growing demand for more internship opportunities for college students, MLSC launched the Internship Challenge in 2009. The innovative workforce development program reimburses companies for 12-week paid internships, creating hundreds of new internships each year while supporting the growth of small businesses by enabling them to hire interns at no cost. The program enhances the talent pipeline for Massachusetts companies by providing students with necessary practical workplace experience and exposure to the life sciences industry, which helps motivate them to stay and work in Massachusetts upon graduation. The program runs year-round, offering full and part-time positions for students and recent graduates. To date, MLSC has invested more than $10 million in the creation of over 1,600 internships hosted by more than 400 companies across Massachusetts. Interns have represented over 150 different colleges and universities.

"Life sciences companies cite Massachusetts' talented workforce as one of the main reasons to locate and grow here,” said Susan Windham-Bannister, Ph.D., MLSC President & CEO. “The MLSC Internship Challenge has been a key investment by the state to ensure that our life sciences workers bring both classroom and hands-on experience to their employers. Since its launch in 2009 this program has funded over 1,600 internships at 400 companies all across the state and we’re pleased that our program is serving as a model for similar programs at our sister quasi-public agencies.”

Funded as a pilot program in the 2012 Jobs Bill, the MassTech Intern Partnership launched in spring 2013 and since that time has matched 180 interns at over 100 companies across the Commonwealth, including innovative firms in robotics, eHealth and big data, among other sectors. When the first year’s participants were surveyed, nearly 90 percent of the programs participants rated their experience as ‘very favorable’.

“The MassTech Intern Partnership, with the support from the Commonwealth, introduces students to new learning opportunities, as well as to the contacts, job prospects, and career opportunities that the Massachusetts innovation economy offers,” said Pamela Goldberg, CEO of MassTech. “The program is a win for startups too, as they benefit from the addition of talented interns who help the company to expand operations, providing a measurable boost in productivity at these small companies.” 

Since 2011, MassCEC’s internship program has placed 589 interns at more than 173 clean energy companies across Massachusetts, helping business grow in the Commonwealth while providing students and recent graduates with practical, on-the-job training as they begin their clean energy careers. Fifty-one interns have gone on to secure permanent jobs with their employers following their internships.

“The MassCEC internship program grows bigger every year and is an invaluable resource to the clean energy industry, which has grown by 24 percent over the past two years,” said MassCEC CEO Alicia Barton. “Employers gain access to a skilled, energetic workforce, while students and recent graduates have the opportunity to take the skills they learned in the classroom and use them in the expanding global clean energy sector.”