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Great Lakes Career Ready Internship Grant Opportunity Now Open to Two-Year Colleges

Colleges Invited to Cultivate Business Partnerships to Offer Paid Internships for Low-Income Students

—Internships are good for all involved. Students gain relevant workplace skills and are more likely to earn degrees and use their internship experience to help secure good jobs after graduation. Colleges see increased graduation and job placement rates, and employers have a pipeline to potential candidates. A reported 71 percent of students who had an internship that applied what they were learning in the classroom to the workplace are now employed full time, according to a 2014 Gallup-Purdue University study of college graduates from the past five years.

Unfortunately, there is an issue of equity with respect to who participates in applied internships. Not all internships are paid, and students with unmet financial need often can't afford to work without a paycheck—leaving too many students unable to take advantage of on-the-job experiences and networking opportunities that can put their career goals within reach.

For the past three academic years, Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation has been leveling the playing field at four-year colleges by providing funding for paid internships specifically for students with financial need. With the release of its first Career Ready Internship Grant for two-year colleges, Great Lakes is now expanding the reach of these opportunities to more students.

"The equity issue is particularly poignant for students attending two-year colleges, many who are juggling school along with the demands of jobs and families. For such students, unpaid internships are simply out of the question," said Richard D. George, President and Chief Executive Officer of Great Lakes.

"Our new grant will help more two-year college students gain relevant internship experience, thereby bettering their chances of graduating and entering the job market on equal footing with their wealthier peers. It also allows us to examine the unique needs two-year colleges face in establishing and administering paid internship programs for their students."

Colleges will partner with employers in their communities to create and grow paid internship opportunities for students with financial need that are related to their academic programs and career goals. Great Lakes will provide funding to cover student wages and other related expenses.

Two-year nonprofit colleges in Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio and Wisconsin are eligible to apply for Career Ready Internship grants of up to $180,000. The grant period will be January 2, 2017 through May 31, 2018. It includes a two-part capacity building period and one full academic year to implement a paid internship program.

Visit for an application. Potential grant applicants are encouraged to attend a webinar on June 9, 2016 at 10 a.m. Central for essential information, helpful tips and answers to their questions. Applications are due July 22, 2016.

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