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Testimony to House Commerce re: Vermont Internship Program

Testimony to House Commerce
February 16 ,2011- Vermont Internship Program
Andrea Cohen, Executive Director, VBSR

Now in its third year, the Vermont Intern Program successfully connects students at Vermont colleges and universities with paid career opportunities at Vermont businesses.  Seven thousand students graduate from Vermont schools each year and leave Vermont, while Vermont companies are left to find the skilled employees they need.  The Vermont Intern Program helps to bridge this gap.
If you look at the intern postings today you will see some fantastic internships available:

  • Assistant at Engineering Ventures, PC
  • Facilities Engineering Intern at Green Mountain Coffee Roasters
  • Web Marketing I at Curve Trends Marketings
  • Marketing Assistant at Vermont Butter and Cheese
  • Report Developer at Dealer.Com
  • Operations Manager at Dealer.Com
  • House Advisor at Spring Lake Ranch
  • Editorial Internship at Battenkill Communications
  • College Financial Rep at Northwestern Mutual Financial Network
  • Six different positions at VT Energy Investment Corporation

With funding support from the Vermont Department of Labor, VBSR has placed 97 students from 19 colleges and universities, with about 70 different businesses.  Seven interns have been hired to work at the company beyond their internship. It is important to note that while VBSR has received incrementally less funding over the years, the number of internship placements has increased each year. 

  • 2008- 15 interns placed ($69,000)
  • 2009- 35 interns placed ($60,000)
  • 2010- 47 interns placed  ($49,000)
  • 2011- just starting ($30,000)

There are two main reasons we can do this:
1.We have become more efficient in our implementation of the program. Our systems are developed and refined. We know what works well because we have the experience.
2.We have developed and maintained relationships with the educational institutions and with the businesses.  These relationships take some time to build and we maintain them by meeting our responsibilities- reviewing work plans, matching student’s career aspirations with internships, and helping to manage the process to ensure successful outcomes.  Much of this has to do with our capable and competent internship program coordinator.
While we are very committed to the program and very efficient in program implementation, we are currently operating the program at a loss and need to develop a more sustainable funding scenario going forward.
Survey Results

  • 2008-2011, 69% of students report that the internship experience affected their likeliness to pursue work opportunities in Vermont after graduation.
  • 2008-2011, 100% of students stated that their internship gave them valuable work experience.
  • 2008-2011, 100% of businesses reported that their business benefited from having a Vermont Intern Program intern.
  • 100% of businesses believe that internships are a good way to attract skilled workers.



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