Indiana INTERNnet, the state’s leading work-based learning matching marketplace, was established in 2001. It was designed to connect Hoosier college students and employers at a time when many postsecondary graduates were leaving Indiana to start their careers. The goal? Stem the “brain drain” as more college students learned about and completed internships with Hoosier companies.
Fast forward 20 years. Over 11,000 students have secured internships via IndianaINTERN.net. But the robust economy that grew for more than a decade – before COVID-19 pushed the pause button – revealed that keeping college graduates in Indiana wasn’t enough for employers’ insatiable demand for talent. Some are looking for students in earlier stages of their education to take on internships.
While a lot of high school students work while in school, they’re behind fast food counters, babysitting or folding clothes in a department store. Though I learned the importance of a strong work ethic and punctuality by bussing tables in my grandparents’ restaurants, for instance, I didn’t acquire specific skills related to my future career. This isn’t my grandparents’ fault; I simply didn’t have a chance to work in my field.
All the pieces are now coming together. Employers want to bring high school students into their workplaces to expose them to potential careers. Starting with the class of 2023, high school graduation requirements can be met by completing an internship or other work-based learning experience. In addition, the Employment Aid Readiness Network (EARN Indiana) program will expand to high school internships in 2023, giving employers the opportunity to receive a 50% wage reimbursement when they provide high-quality experiences to low-income Hoosier students. And just as IndianaINTERN.net has become the go-to source for college internship searches, we’re building out our network to support your high school internship needs!
The high school portal has all the capabilities of IndianaINTERN.net, with additional identity protection for students under 18. It also has extra educator features to allow counselors and work-based learning coordinators to serve as a matchmaker between students and employers. This dynamic helps ensure that the former will be ready to meet the latter’s needs and that internships are the right fit for their students. Like all our core services, the assistance is free to students, employers and educators.
We look forward to expanding our offerings to support high school students in achieving their work-and-learn goals!