Massachusetts Life Sciences Center Announces 2010 Internship Challenge Program

January 12, 2010

Workforce Development Program will provide internship opportunities for Massachusetts students and recent graduates in summer 2010

The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center today announced the launch of the Center's Internship Challenge Program for the summer of 2010, the second year of a workforce development program focused on enhancing the talent pipeline for Massachusetts life sciences companies. The program will provide paid internship opportunities at life sciences companies for up to 150 students and recent college graduates who are considering career opportunities in the life sciences.

Last year the Center matched 104 students with internships at 59 life sciences companies and research institutions across the Commonwealth. At the conclusion of last year's program at least 13 interns were hired into full-time positions with their sponsoring companies and at least an additional nine were hired for part-time work. In the second year the program will be expanded to include graduate students, and stipends will be available for up to twelve weeks instead of eight. In addition, 10% of the program's resources will be targeted at internship opportunities for community college students. Life sciences companies with 100 or less employees will be eligible to receive reimbursement of student stipends.

"The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center is proud to be able to sponsor the second year of our Internship Challenge Program," said Dr. Susan Windham-Bannister, President & CEO of the Center. "The Challenge is a key investment in the strength of our life sciences workforce in Massachusetts. Given last year's success, we are confident that the 2010 program will provide terrific opportunities for both the interns and the sponsoring companies, and will serve to further develop our pipeline of life sciences talent."

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 school in Massachusetts. Last year's challenge brought in over 500 student applicants.

"We were extremely pleased with the results of last year's Internship Challenge program," said Dr. Jeffrey Kiplinger, President of Worcester-based Averica Discovery Services, Inc. "Our two interns, both Chemistry majors at WPI, were big assets in the lab, and we were thrilled that the Center facilitated the entire process. We found suitable resumes immediately, interviewed six candidates and chose two very rapidly, and they started work the next week. This is probably the best organized and most transparent state program I've ever seen. Best of all, it gives good students useful work experience and good companies, especially small ones like mine, a boost. What a great use of funds!"

"The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center's 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."

"The Internship Challenge was an awesome opportunity to learn about the biotech industry that I otherwise would not have experienced without the Center's program," said Andrew Bartley, a senior from Worcester Polytechnic Institute who worked last summer as a Research Associate at Worcester-based EpigenDx, Inc. "The Internship Challenge will give me a leg-up when applying to graduate school, and in my career, because I will have had actual lab experience."

Students who are selected for the Internship Challenge will be paid up to $15 per hour for up to 12 weeks of work and host companies or institutions will commit to providing a dedicated mentor and meaningful internship opportunity that ties to the academic focus of eligible students.

The Center has opened 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 for their programs, and notify the Center 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

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