Press Release

Great Lakes Commits $2.1 Million to Help 16 Community Colleges Create Internship Programs for Low-Income Students

December 1, 2016


Madison, Wis., December 1, 2016—Internship opportunities can increase the likelihood that a student will both graduate and find a good job after graduation. However, many internships are unpaid, so low-income students who need a paying job can't afford the opportunity and miss out on developing professional skills and networks available to their wealthier peers.

This is an issue Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates first started to address in 2013, funding the creation of paid internships for low-income students at four-year institutions with its Career Ready Internship Grant. Great Lakes has seen firsthand the benefits of paid internships at these institutions. Previous grantees reported that 98% of participating students either graduated or continued in their academic programs the following semester. Great Lakes is now seeking to learn best practices for establishing and administering paid internship programs at two-year colleges.

In an expansion of its Career Ready Internship Grant to two-year institutions, Great Lakes is awarding a combined $2.1 million to 16 community and technical colleges across Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Grant funds will cover internship wages and other expenses as the grantees partner with employers in their communities. The colleges will also build their internal capacity to recruit students, match them with available internships related to their academic programs and provide them the support they need to succeed.

"We're pleased to see that these 16 colleges are dedicated to connecting students from low-income backgrounds to paid internship opportunities," said Richard D. George, President and Chief Executive Officer of Great Lakes. "Our goal with this grant is to learn how two-year schools can build a self-sustaining paid internship program. We hope that the knowledge we gain will serve as a blueprint that can be used to create successful internship programs at community colleges across the nation."

Meet our 2017-2018 Career Ready Internship Grant Recipients »

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