• SSTI poll shows overwhelming support for innovation platform

    More than 90 percent of the electorate support expanded efforts to strengthen the key elements of a knowledge-driven economy. Members can sign up for a webinar on how the poll can inform your communications.

  • Become an SSTI Member

    As the most comprehensive resource available for those involved in technology-based economic development, SSTI offers the services that are needed to help build tech-based economies.  Learn more about membership...

  • A directory of responses to the coronavirus pandemic.

    SSTI is cultivating this directory of federal, private and state actions and resources broadly affecting tech-based economic development efforts.

  • Subscribe to the SSTI Weekly Digest

    Each week, the SSTI Weekly Digest delivers the latest breaking news and expert analysis of critical issues affecting the tech-based economic development community. Subscribe today!

MN, ND, NE, RI Sponsor Internship Programs to Build Relationships Between Employers, Students

July 17, 2013

During this year’s legislative sessions, several states looked toward creating, providing support for or redesigning programs that help incentivize businesses to hire and mentor student interns. In an effort to spur rural internships, Minnesota lawmakers approved a new tax credit program to support internships for students in greater Minnesota. In North Dakota, lawmakers committed $1.5 million to their Operation Intern program, while Nebraska lawmakers updated their Intern Nebraska grant program to provide students with a high-quality internship experience. Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee signed a bill that will allow high school students (16 years and older) to engage in pre-apprenticeship, apprenticeship and internship experiences during school hours in approved manufacturing career and technical programs.

In an effort to spur rural internships, Minnesota lawmakers approved a new tax credit program to support internships for students in greater Minnesota. As part of the state’s Omnibus Tax Bill (HF 677), the program would reward companies for hiring college interns by paying up to 40 percent of the intern’s salary, up to $2,000 per person. The internships also must be taken for academic credit and last 12 weeks or longer. Employers must also guarantee the intern would not have been hired without the credit and the intern would not replace existing employees. The state allocated $2 million a year toward the program according to Mankato Free Press . Proponents of contend the internship program will help keep students in communities across the state after graduation.

In North Dakota, Lawmakers committed $1.5 million to expand the Operation Intern program, which provides internships, cooperative work experiences and apprenticeship positions with employers (see the May 15, 2013 issue of the Digest).

Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman signed a bill (LB 476) in May that would impact businesses applying to the Intern Nebraska grant program starting in September 2013. The proposed changes include:

  • The bill will extend eligibility to businesses from all industries, including nonprofits.
  • Rather than requiring 200 minimum hours in 12 weeks or less, the bill will allow businesses and students to develop an individual plan whose duration allows students to gain valuable work experience, but must be completed within 12 months.  
  • The Department of Economic Development will have the discretion to award grants up to 75 percent of the cost of the internship.
  • Businesses that hire students receiving Pell Grants will be eligible to receive up to $7,500 reimbursement per internship. All other businesses will be eligible to receive up to $5,000 per internship.
  • All full-time students who are enrolled in colleges or universities in Nebraska,  Nebraska residents attending colleges or universities outside Nebraska and students who have graduated within six months are eligible. Previously, only full-time students who had completed at least one half of the required credit hours for an associate's or bachelor's degree were eligible.
  • Businesses also may allow students to telecommute to work, if they are more than 30 miles from the Nebraska institution of higher education where the student is enrolled.

The Department of Economic Development is tasked with developing an action plan, which will set forth selection criteria for awarding of grants to businesses and the other proposed changes. Since its establishment, more than 288 companies have participated in the Intern Nebraska grant program, providing internship opportunities for 445 students. Of the companies participating, approximately one third have less than 10 employees. In January, the Intern Nebraska web portal, IternNE.com, also was updated with a streamlined design and easier navigation capabilities for both students and business leaders. Read the governor’s press release…

Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee signed a bill (2013-H 6062A) that will allow high school students (16 years and older) to engage in pre-apprenticeship, apprenticeship and internship experiences during school hours in approved manufacturing career and technical programs. The legislation, administered by the RI Department of Labor, also calls the state to establish manufacturing standards for pre-apprenticeship or training agreements with a joint employer and employee groups.

Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Rhode Islandtax credits, workforce, stem