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Chafee Announces New Internship Partnership To Keep Students in RI

Thursday, January 09, 2014

 

Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee, along with several Rhode Island community organizations, announced on Thursday a new partnership to establish internship opportunities with RI employers through a year-old campaign, BRIDGE.JOBS.

The initiative, a collaboration of the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA), the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, the Governor’s Workforce Board, Rhode Island's public colleges and universities, and the Rhode Island Partnership Project, hopes to bring local businesses and potential interns together in order to bolster the economy by keeping Rhode Islanders in within the state.

“A week from yesterday we will be putting in our budget,” said Chafee, one of the event’s half dozen speakers. “We will be making investments in the building blocks of our economy, especially in education. We are very grateful for the $100,000 grant that will help aid in emerging of this program.”

Keeping Students In-State to Bolster Economy

More than 2,400 students seeking internships are currently registered through the BRIDGE.JOBS, while only a couple hundred positions are currently open. The organizations involved with this announcement hope that by making this funding available to businesses and organizations, students will be more likely to stay within the state upon graduation.

“Our goal with this $100,000 grant that we received from the Rhode Island Foundation is to encourage more businesses and organizations to start internship programs,” said Charles Kelley, Executive Director of the RI Student Loan Authority. “Everywhere I have worked I have tried to hire interns because it really is a benefit to the organization, the student, and the state of Rhode Island.”

The program is designed to link local Rhode Island businesses with interns, in hopes that the relationships built will not only help the interns by providing real work experience, but also to help aid businesses by finding smart and young talent. These relationships will also allow the state to grow economically, by keeping experienced workers and jobs within the state.

“We want to bring employers together with young talent in order to increase our economy”, said Laurie White, President of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce. “This is a resource that provides triple aid. We are looking into the factors that play into keeping our students in Rhode Island after graduation.”

Charles Kelley, Executive Director of the RI Student Loan Authority

RI Work Immersion Program

Although the program provides many benefits for potential interns – including paid internships – it is a program that also has many benefits for employers as well. This partnership allows for subsidized loans to be offered to the employers who hire the interns, paying back 50 percent of what the employer pays their intern provided the internship meets criteria or even 75 percent of that payment if the intern stays with the company after the internship has been completed.

This program’s criteria requires the employer to hire a Rhode Island resident of at least 18 years of age, who is currently unemployed. The employer must provide the intern with an opportunity in which they can become more employable. In addition, the employer must offer between 60-200 hours of paid employment with at least minimum wage for an hourly wage. For employers to receive reimbursement for the payment of an intern there is some paperwork that must be filled out before and after the internship with the Governor’s Workforce Board.

“It is something that came together nicely,” said Kelley. “The Governor’s proposal for workforce immersion to help subsidize the cost of internships for employers by 50 to 75 percent, I must say that it is an amazing thing to help overcome one of those barriers of cost.”

 

Related Slideshow: New England States with the Highest Student Debt

A new report released by the Institute for College Access & Success' Project on Student Debt found that the average debt load for the class of 2012 was $29,400 -- up more than 10% from the previous year. Check out the slides below to see where New England ranks in terms of average student debt.

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#6 Connecticut

Average Student Debt: $27,816

Percent of Graduates with Debt: 61%

Note: All data is based on four-year or above institutions for students graduating in the 2011-2012 academic year.

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#5 Vermont

Average Student Debt: $28,299

Percent of Graduates with Debt: 63%

Note: All data is based on four-year or above institutions for students graduating in the 2011-2012 academic year.

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#4 Massachusetts

Average Student Debt: $28,460

Percent of Graduates with Debt: 66%

Note: All data is based on four-year or above institutions for students graduating in the 2011-2012 academic year.

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#3 Maine

Average Student Debt: $29,352

Percent of Graduates with Debt: 67%

Note: All data is based on four-year or above institutions for students graduating in the 2011-2012 academic year.

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#2 Rhode Island

Average Student Debt: $31,156

Percent of Graduates with Debt: 69%

Note: All data is based on four-year or above institutions for students graduating in the 2011-2012 academic year.

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#1 New Hampshire

Average Student Debt: $32,698

Percent of Graduates with Debt: 74%

Note: All data is based on four-year or above institutions for students graduating in the 2011-2012 academic year.

 
 

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