Columbus State is among 16 community colleges in the Midwest to receive a portion of a $2.1 million grant from Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates to create paid internships for low-income students. Research shows that internships can increase the likelihood that a student will both graduate and find a good job after graduation.
Columbus State has received just over $174,000 in a Great Lakes Career Ready Internship Grant. Combined, the funding will create more than 1,000 paid internships at community and technical colleges in Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota and Arkansas.
Four years ago, Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates first addressed the issue by developing paid internship programs at four-year institutions. Past grantees have reported that 98 percent of participating students either graduated or continued in their academic programs the following semester. Great Lakes now wants to learn best practices for establishing and administering paid internship programs at two-year colleges.
Grant funds will cover internship wages and other expenses as Columbus State partners with employers in Central Ohio. A pilot program with eight students will begin during summer semester with the first full class of 25 students scheduled to begin in autumn semester.
The program is designed to help low-income students who often miss out on internship experiences because they can’t afford to work without a paycheck. Selected students will earn $15 per hour and be eligible for a $250 transportation stipend. Employment opportunities will be focused in Logistics, Engineering, Marketing, Health Information, Management Technology and Computer Science.
“We’re pleased to see that Columbus State and the other 15 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.”
The Great Lakes grant period continues through May 2018.
To learn more about the Career Ready Internship Grant, visit community.mygreatlakes.org.