Massachusetts Life Sciences Center Announces 2012-13 Internship Challenge Program
Waltham, MA – The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center today announced the launch of their 2012-13 Internship Challenge. The workforce development program, now in its fourth 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 three years the program has placed more than 550 interns at more than 200 life sciences companies across the state. More than 100 of the interns were hired into either full or part-time positions with their sponsoring 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.
“Life sciences companies that move here or expand here always cite our talented workforce as one of their main reasons for choosing Massachusetts,” said Dr. Susan Windham-Bannister, President & CEO of the Center. “The Center’s Internship Challenge is a key investment in the ongoing strength of our life sciences workforce in Massachusetts. Given its past success, we are confident that this year’s 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 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 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 has given me an excellent opportunity to work with the most welcoming, knowledgeable, and team-oriented group of scientists. I feel that I have been given a chance to be part of something bigger than myself and I appreciate every minute of it,” said Crystal Smith, 2011 intern and Senior at Bridgewater State University.
Students who are selected for the Internship Challenge will be paid up to $15 per hour up to a maximum stipend of $7,200. Companies with 100 or fewer employees are eligible to receive reimbursement of student stipends. Larger companies are welcome to participate but will not receive reimbursement from the Center. Host companies must commit to providing a dedicated mentor and meaningful internship opportunity that ties to the academic focus of eligible students. Ten percent of the program’s resources will be targeted at internship opportunities for community college 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.
About the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center
The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center is a quasi-public agency of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts tasked with implementing the Massachusetts Life Sciences Act, a ten-year, $1 billion initiative that was signed into law in June of 2008. The Center’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 between sectors of the Massachusetts life sciences community. For more information, visit www.masslifesciences.com.
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