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N.H. is expanding paid internships for high school students

NH DOE press conference.jpg
Sarah Gibson
/
NHPR
Mike Skelton, of the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire, speaks at a N.H. Department of Education press conference.

Close to 200 New Hampshire businesses are working with the state Department of Education to offer paid internships to high school students this upcoming academic year.

The new internship program, called Work as Learning, is being paid for with federal COVID relief money and aims to work with up to a thousand students over the next two years.

The list of businesses includes childcare centers, manufacturing companies, retail stores and social service organizations. Participating businesses are expected to offer students $15 an hour and be reimbursed up to $7.50 an hour for up to 480 hours. Some of the internships will also earn students credit toward graduation.

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At a press conference with the Department of Education on Monday, Mike Skelton, president and CEO of New Hampshire's statewideChamber of Commerce, said businesses were eager to join the program as they face another year of workforce shortages.

“We don’t have enough individuals to fill the jobs that are available, and that is going to impact the ability of our businesses to grow,” he said. “And so we need creative solutions to address that over the long haul.”

Rochester high school senior Kylie Mohan, who is participating in the pilot program this summer, said her internship at the Rochester Child Care Center built up her confidence to pursue a career in the field.

“I basically went from being an afternoon assistant to more of the actual teaching aspect of a full-time teacher,” she explained.

Mohan hopes to get a certificate in early childhood education by the time she gradutes from Spaulding High School next spring.

Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut said the program's goal was to get students a taste of future career paths and job skills.

“It teaches them something about money; it teaches them how to problem solve, and it really helps them to develop a sense of responsibility which is beneficial for them in that work environment, but also benefits them in their educational opportunities,” he said.

Sarah Gibson joined NHPR's newsroom in 2018. She reports on education and demographics.
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