WALTHAM, Mass. – The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) today announced the launch of its 2013 - 2014 Internship Challenge, as the MLSC celebrated the 1,000th intern placed through the program. The year-round workforce development program, now in its fifth year, focuses on enhancing the talent pipeline for Massachusetts life sciences companies and will provide paid internship opportunities at life sciences companies for students and recent college graduates who are considering career opportunities in the life sciences.
Over the past four years the program has placed 1,000 interns at more than 300 life sciences companies across the state. Nearly 30 percent of interns seeking employment were immediately hired into either full- or part-time positions with their host companies at the conclusion of their internships.
“The Life Sciences Center’s Internship Challenge has proven effective and successful in developing new talent within the life sciences industry in Massachusetts,” said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray, Chair of the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council, which incorporates learning and training opportunities for students in fields related to science, technology, engineering, and math. “As Massachusetts continues to strengthen its position as a global leader in the life sciences field, we encourage students to participate in this opportunity that will enhance their skills and increase their exposure to STEM-related fields and the life sciences industry right here in the Commonwealth.”
“Massachusetts' life sciences workforce is the envy of the world and the Center’s Internship Challenge is a key investment to sustain the strength of that workforce,” said Dr. Susan Windham-Bannister, President & CEO of the MLSC. “Over 300 companies and 1,000 interns have participated in the program so the Center is making a major contribution to the next generation of our life sciences professionals. We are confident that this year’s program will provide additional terrific opportunities for both participating interns and the sponsoring companies, and will further position Massachusetts as the best place in the world to find a pipeline of life sciences talent.”
Last November, Western New England University graduate student and Internship Challenge participant Brian Dutra won first place in the Old Guard Oral Presentation Competition held at the 2012 American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ (ASME) International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition held in Houston, Texas.
Dutra claimed the top prize for his presentation on “Acoustophoretic Separation of Lipid Particles from Red Blood Cells,” a process of removing microscopic impurities from blood using ultrasonic standing waves, which was completed at FloDesign Sonics in Wilbraham, Mass.
“The Internship Challenge provided the necessary funding to allow Brian to test drive a life sciences career. It worked -- he loved the project and he got hired,” says Stanley Kowalski III, Chairman of FloDesign Sonics. “It’s the perfect blend of corporate, state, and academic partnerships.”
The Internship Challenge provides interns with practical, “hands on” 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.
Internship Challenge host companies are looking for interns in a variety of disciplines to support their work in the life sciences.
“The Internship Challenge gave me an experience I never would have been able to get if I had looked for an internship by myself or through my school,” said Emily Correia, who participated as an intern in the summer of 2012 at TRA360, a life sciences communications firm in Waltham, Mass. “I gained exposure to a completely different world of communications than I had ever seen before and met people who helped reaffirm that life sciences is where I want to build my career. After my experience I’m encouraging all of my friends at school to apply this year as well.”
Students who are selected for the Internship Challenge will be paid up to $15 per hour -- a maximum stipend of $7,200 per intern. Companies with 100 or fewer employees in Massachusetts and not more than 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 that relates to the academic focus of eligible students.
The MLSC maintains a web-based interface where students can post resumes and cover letters and host companies can match skills with their needs. Participating companies will contact and interview candidates, select interns, and notify the MLSC of their desire to provide an internship to a qualified student. Individuals interested in applying or companies interested in participating can learn more at www.masslifesciences.com/grants/challenge.html.
About the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center
The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) is a quasi-public agency of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts tasked with implementing the Massachusetts Life Sciences Act, a 10-year, $1-billion initiative that was signed into law in June of 2008. The MLSC’s mission is to create jobs in the life sciences and support vital scientific research that will improve the human condition. This work includes making financial investments in public and private institutions that are advancing life sciences research, development and commercialization as well as building ties among sectors of the Massachusetts life sciences community. For more information, visit www.masslifesciences.com.
About the Internship Challenge Program
The MLSC’s Internship Challenge is a workforce development program focused on enhancing the talent pipeline for Massachusetts companies engaged in life sciences. The program facilitates the placement of students and recent graduates, who are considering career opportunities in the life sciences, in paid internships across the state. Consistent with the MLSC’s role as a catalyst in growing the talent needed by the life sciences industry, the program is designed to provide students and companies with the tools to connect, and the MLSC will reimburse eligible companies for intern stipends. Objectives of the Internship Challenge include expanding the pool of prospective employees who have practical experience, enhancing opportunities for mentoring, enabling more students to explore career opportunities, and providing to students interested in working in the life sciences a peer network through educational and informational networking events.