New internship programs aim to get Vt. students connected - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

New internship programs aim to get Vt. students connected

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While most agree school is an important ingredient for success, getting hands-on experience in the workforce can also be educational. So Vermont lawmakers are expanding internship opportunities for students.

"Direct employment experiences that not only teach them about the businesses they are working with, but give them an introduction, an opportunity, a foot in the door, to stay right here in Vermont, have a great job and a great quality of life," said Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-Vermont.

These federal and state internship programs are aimed at providing paid internships to high school and college students all across the state of Vermont. The programs target at-risk students who otherwise would not have this opportunity.

"Every student who goes to college today knows they are going to be at a serious disadvantage if they've not had a meaningful work experience during their time in college," said Rep. Michele Kupersmith, D-South Burlington.

The internships will take place both during the summer and school year, and pay at least minimum wage. The goal is to employ nearly 700 students with employers across Vermont this summer.

"In addition to that, the internship program which is funded currently at about $350,000 a year, we intend to put another $200,000 from money the Department of Labor has," Vt. Labor Commissioner Annie Noonan said.

Marty Thieret, co-owner of the Vermont company C2 Competitive Computing, is eager for the programs to start. He's had good experience with interns, and believes these programs will benefit employers, schools and students in Vermont.

"They bring energy, they bring creativity to us, and in turn we'd like to think we give them a very positive work experience for them to be able to understand how the business community works," Thieret said.

Any student or employer in Vermont can get involved in the program. The Vermont Department of Labor is currently looking to help more companies find potential future employees.

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