Waltham, MA – The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) recently announced the launch of the 2014-2015 Internship Challenge. The workforce development program, first launched in 2009, creates hundreds of new paid internship opportunities each year throughout Massachusetts. Eligible college students and recent graduates can apply online through the MLSC’s website for an internship with one of over 300 life sciences companies registered to host interns. Companies review candidates through a web-based interface in which they can match skills with their needs. Upon conclusion of the internship, the MLSC reimburses companies for stipends paid to their interns.
Over the past five years, the program has placed over 1,400 interns at more than 380 companies throughout Massachusetts. At least 250 of the interns were hired into either full or part-time positions with their host companies at the conclusion of their internships.
“Life sciences companies always cite Massachusetts’ talented workforce as one of the main reasons to locate and grow here,” said Susan Windham-Bannister, Ph.D., MLSC President & CEO. “The Internship Challenge is a key investment by the state to ensure that our life sciences workforce remains strong and inclusive. Given its past success, we have no doubt that this year’s internship program will provide terrific opportunities for both the interns and their host companies, and will build the pipeline of talent that is ready to meet the needs of life sciences companies across the state.”
In 2012, the MLSC received an $800,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to expand the Internship Challenge over four years as part of the $5 million Metro Boston Skilled Careers in Life Sciences (SCILS) initiative to grow and maintain the area’s life sciences workforce.
The Internship Challenge provides interns with practical, “hands on” work experience that prepares them to step into the workforce ready to meet the job requirements of life sciences employers. In order to participate, students must either reside in, attend, or have attended college in Massachusetts.
“The program has opened a great opportunity for us to offer interns some practical scientific experience while they make some significant contributions to our programs,” said Walter Lunsmann, Chief Operating Officer of Worcester-based VivoPath, LLC. “I am very happy the program is achieving its goal to develop the life science resources of Massachusetts with these internship opportunities for our future scientists.”
“We are very pleased with the biology and analytical students that have worked with us. The program gives us the opportunity to hire talented students that we would otherwise not have access to,” said Shana Dobson, Operations Manager at Watertown-based Tetraphase Pharmaceuticals. “It’s a win-win situation: we are extremely impressed with the contributions the students make and it is great work experience for them.”
“The MLSC Internship Challenge is an amazing tool that assists both small companies and people looking to launch a career in the life science industry,” said Jeffrey Troderman, Chief Financial Officer of X-Chem, Inc. “We have had six interns as a result of the program. Two of these interns have been hired as full-time employees in the life science industry, one full-time by our company, and three have been retained by us on a part-time basis. We are actively in touch with all of our interns and consider them part of our family.”
“The Internship Challenge program was fantastic,” said Janice Ye, who was hired as a Lead Research Scientist with Cambridge-based InVivo Therapeutics after participating in the 2009 program. “It was a very easy process to go through, and my experience working with the Center’s staff was great. The program helped me a great deal, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without it.”
Students who are selected for the Internship Challenge will be paid up to $15 per hour for a total reimbursement of $7,200 per intern at the conclusion of the internship. Companies with 100 or fewer employees in Massachusetts (or up to 250 globally) are eligible to receive reimbursement of student stipends. Larger companies are welcome to participate but will not receive reimbursement from the MLSC. Host companies must commit to providing a dedicated mentor and meaningful internship opportunity.