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

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Bridge is a program that focuses on connecting employers and students in Rhode Island. The goal of Bridge is to match Rhode Island employers with talented students looking to gain valuable professional experience. Applying knowledge and skills acquired in college to a professional setting is a vital component of a student’s college education. Students who gain relevant internship experience are better prepared for full-time employment after graduation. By hiring interns, employers gain qualified, career-driven young professionals as employees. Student bring with them exposure to cutting edge practices and technology, new insights and philosophies, flexibility and a thirst for knowledge. bRIdge has a particular focus on connecting students and employers from specialized fields such as Business, Science, IT, Technology, Health, Design, Engineering and Manufacturing. The bRIdge website allows employers to post paid or unpaid internships online and directly reach out to a vast and talented pool of students. College students and recent graduates can sign up and start looking for an appropriate professional learning opportunity in minutes. bRIdge is a program of the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) and RISLA’s College Planning Center of Rhode Island. RISLA has joined up with Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Rhode Island (AICURI), the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education (RIBGHE) and the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce to bring together academia, business and community. If you have any questions about this program or if you need any assistance, please feel free to contact us.

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