For six years, SciTechsperience has helped college students majoring in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) find paid internships in their field of study with small Minnesota companies. As of March 28, 2018, Haley Larson is the 1,000th intern placed using the program.
“We’re so thrilled to reach this milestone,” said Becky Siekmeier, SciTechsperience Program Director. “It’s such a great feeling to help Minnesota’s small and growing businesses find these talented students while helping students find opportunities to learn in their field and get the real-life experience they need to launch their careers. Being able to say we’ve given that experience 1,000 times is really amazing.”
Haley Larson will be working as a Mechanical Engineering intern with Celadon Systems in Burnsville this summer. She will help with the development and documentation of new products for the company, which designs and manufactures semiconductor test equipment.
“Engineering is the way I want to go about improving our world and the people that live in it,” says Larson. “I want to know that I am doing something beneficial towards those who need it.” Larson is a junior at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul.
Bill Funk, an Engineer at Celadon Systems, says having an intern at his company is mutually beneficial, adding that “it is a good way to grow both our company and the students. I like the synergy.”
“The SciTechsperience Internship Program is critical for ensuring our state builds and retains its STEM workforce,” said Margaret Anderson Kelliher, president & CEO of the Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA). “SciTechsperience connects students with high-quality, hands-on, high-impact experiences in their field while also giving companies access to top talent to build their talent pipeline. Now that we’ve placed 1,000 students, it’s exciting to see how this program will continue to grow.”
The program, designed to expand a pool of talent to support small Minnesota companies, placed 60 students its first year in 2012, almost doubling that two years later with 117 placements in 2014. The program doubled its results again in 2016, placing 230 paid internships. SciTechsperience continues to expand its reach and is expected to place 300 students in paid internships this year alone.
SciTechsperience is administered by the Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA) through a grant from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). Businesses that hire interns receive a dollar for dollar stipend to cover 50 percent of wages paid. The stipends are capped at $2,500. To be eligible, businesses must have fewer than 250 employees worldwide. Students and businesses can view requirements and apply to take part in the program at http://scitechmn.org/.