Youth Internship Programs in RI

What are Youth Internship Programs in RI?

Internships are a great choice for high school-age youth looking to gain valuable real-world experience. Working over the summer (or even during the school year) is a learning experience that helps inform college and career choices. Rather than spending the summer doing something totally unrelated to their interests, youth engaged in internships are helping to determine what they want to do with their lives.

Anne Walsh, Youth Programs Manager of Workforce Solutions of Providence/Cranston explains the difference between a youth internship and a college internship, “we refer to them as work experiences because the primary learning goals are connected to workplace skills, contrasted with college internships, which tend to have additional learning goals related to academic work”.


Advantages of Youth Internships

Internships are mutually beneficial for the intern and the employer, particularly when interns are well incorporated into the work setting and not just “making coffee”.

Advantages for Students

  • Valuable training and experience that can inform decisions about applying for college or entering a career.
  • Develop good work habits and a strong work ethic.
  • Learn about personal attributes needed for employment and career advancement.
  • Gain a more realistic idea of what is expected in different careers.
  • Networking for future job searches.
  • Most youth center internships include a payment of minimum wage.
  • Add a successful work-related experience to the resume.
  • Learn hands-on skills related to job search.

Advantages for Employers

  • Help find (or mold) a future employee.
  • See and impact the intern’s work ethics.
  • Get fresh ideas from outside the company.
  • Help current teams be more productive.
  • Have a positive impact on the next generation of workers.
  • No cost. Youth interns are paid through the Youth Centers’ payroll.
  • Have the support of Youth Center job coaches at any time during the placement.

What a Youth or High School Internship May Look Like:

YouthWORKS411 is a statewide system of local workforce development centers that help prepare the workforce of the future by connecting young adults ages 14 to 24 with the education, work experience and occupational skills training they need to succeed.

The system is collaborative effort between the RI Dept. of Labor and Training, the Governor’s Workforce Board RI, the two local workforce investment boards and more than two dozen non-profit service providers. 

Youth Centers provide:

  • Academic and vocational assessments and goal-setting.
  • Career exploration workshops, orientation to the world of work, leadership development.
  • Pre-screened referrals to employers, matched in areas of age, maturity, interest, abilities and type of work.
  • Employers interview youth and choose from referrals.
  • Ongoing coaching and support  through the placement.
  • No cost to the employer – the youth is paid through the youth center.
  • Summer placements are 20 hours per week for 5 weeks during July/August.
  • School year placements are a minimum of 5 hours per week for 13 weeks.

Employer Contribution

As a work-experience employer, you will provide proper supervision and be a positive adult role model for youth. You will be required to fill out a time sheet/evaluation form, sign a worksite agreement, and help your youth interns learn about jobs in your organization and the occupational skills and training needed for those jobs. You will help youth learn about personal attributes needed to obtain a job and career advancement, as well as assist them in developing basic work habits and a strong work ethic.

For more information about the youth system and to find the center nearest you:  or contact the Statewide Youth Center Manager, Adrianna Goode at (401) 680-8755 or email

7 Things Interns Want

As interns look for an internship, they are dealing with the highly competitive application and interview processes. However, the reverse is also true – as your business looks for an intern, you’re competing for the best interns with other companies who may have more resources and a stronger draw than you. In order to draw the best interns possible, you must first ask what interns want. Take a look at these seven key factors you can focus on to attract quality talent.

1. A Good Fit for Their Program

An intern who’s studying economics is more likely to look for an internship in a bank than an advertising agency. Many companies think they don’t have any control over this, but it’s all in how you sell it. If you’re looking for talent in a particular area, then make sure your posting makes it clear that you have something to offer in that area. That ad agency may initially seem like a poor choice for an economics major, but when it’s framed correctly the intern could easily see that there’s plenty of money exchanging hands, a business plan in place, and it might be a great opportunity to learn about economics after all.

2. A True Learning Experience

When it comes down to what interns want, the reality is that they are there to learn. Show them they will have a meaningful educational experience with your company or organization and they’ll be much more likely to be excited about the position and snatch it up when it’s offered.


3. Inclusion

You do want to think about what interns want, but you also want to think about what they don’t want. They don’t want to be coffee-runners who aren’t involved in the day to day activities of your business. Reach out and ask for their opinion on that new marketing plan, or for ideas on how your company can diversify their goods or services. Sometimes the newest voice is the freshest and most inspiring.

4. Clear Job Duties

For many interns, the number one complaint about their experience was that it wasn’t clear what they were there to do. Before you even begin the hiring process, sit down and outline the specific duties and goals of your intern position. During the interview process, be clear about what will be expected. This will not only entice the right type of intern, but it’ll weed out those who won’t be willing or able to complete the tasks you have in mind.

5. Evaluations

What interns want is to do good work and to learn. This is best accomplished when a specific evaluation process is in place. This evaluation could be done once at the end of the internship, or several times throughout. Either way, it should closely mirror a real employee evaluation and give specific feedback on the intern’s strengths and weaknesses.

6. Perks

This could be as simple as donuts on Friday or as lavish as company-paid dinners or half-day Fridays in the summer. If your company offers perks like these to employees, then they should be offered to your interns – and you should be sure your posting mentions it.

7. Their Own Space

Many companies don’t consider where the intern will be working or what tool’s they’ll have at their disposal, but an intern with their own desk and computer is likely to be much happier than an intern who is forced to flutter around looking for open workspace. 

How to Provide a Useful Internship Orientation

Internship orientation is a great first step towards welcoming interns into the company. To make the orientation beneficial for them, here are some tips.

First, it’s important to create a welcoming environment for your new interns. Since this will be their introduction into the company, it’s important you welcome them to the team as if they were full time employees. By introducing the interns to other employees, it helps them become more acclimated to their surroundings while giving them the feeling they belong to the team.Chemistry intern

Along with creating a welcoming environment, it’s important that you introduce interns to your company’s culture. This can include a brief history of your business, the goals you want to accomplish and your company’s policies.  By providing this information to them, it helps the interns understand more about the culture your company operates within. Further, it can help them transition better into this culture by understanding these policies and why they are in place.

Next, you should review the details of the internship. This will include pertinent items such as hours, pay, whom the intern reports to, dress code, job responsibilities, goals and safety regulations. When going over these details with the interns you should ask follow-up questions to make sure they understand everything you cover. Furthermore, encourage the interns to ask questions that way they can better understand the expectations you have for them.

Lastly, you should make sure the interns have all the equipment they need to do their jobs well. If they need computers as part of their work, it’s ideal to have them set up and email accounts created by orientation. It’s also imperative to have any training education ready to go when they arrive. By preparing in advance, it shows the interns your team is on top of things and it gives them the opportunity to begin to work right away.

Overall, creating an effective internship orientation is a good first step toward transitioning interns into your company’s culture. By developing good communication between you and the interns, you help them understand their roles.  Further, when you create an inviting environment it can help them transition into their roles quicker because they feel like part of the team. Ultimately, these small steps can make it easier for an intern to contribute to your business quicker, because they know your expectations, they understand your company’s culture and they feel like they are part of the team.