Paid internships provide invaluable hands-on experience for college students before they graduate and launch into the job market. Even if an internship doesn’t result in a job, it helps students strengthen résumés and offers networking opportunities in chosen careers. Paid internships allow interns to earn money for their education.
So, we applaud the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s plans to seek legislative support next session for a statewide database of paid internships to link students and potential employers. The plan merits bipartisan support.
The idea emerged from a tri-agency committee established by Gov. Greg Abbott in March 2016. The committee included representatives from the coordinating board, the Texas Education Agency and the Texas Workforce Commission. They held meetings across the state, including in San Antonio.
They heard from regional leaders who want more public-private partnerships, apprenticeship and mentorship programs, and are concerned about pipelines and unfilled jobs in high-demand fields.
The proposed Working Off-campus: Reinforcing Knowledge & Skills Internship Program would function as part of the current Texas College Work-Study program. The legislation would authorize the coordinating board to administer a centralized work-study program off campus.
The coordinating board would contract with employers and create a database of available internships. Employers would get state reimbursement for a still-to-be-determined portion of qualified intern wages.
It is an idea with great potential for making the transition from the classroom into the workforce a lot smoother for many college graduates.