The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) will partner with Ann Arbor SPARK to launch the Michigan STEM Forward internship program on a statewide level. SPARK has run the program on a local level through the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti SmartZone with a decade of positive results.
In scaling the program up, MEDC will work in partnership with SPARK to place 425-450 STEM students currently attending Michigan colleges annually into STEM-focused internships throughout Michigan. With the support of a $1.5 million grant approved today by the MSF Board, SPARK will contribute to 50 percent of the interns’ pay, and participating companies will pay the remaining 50 percent. SPARK will track the employment status of the interns for at least 12 months to measure their retention in Michigan as well as those remaining in those knowledge positions.
“Ann Arbor SPARK is thrilled to leverage our decade of experience running our own Ann Arbor-based internship program and take the opportunity to administer the Michigan STEM Forward program on behalf of the state. We have a solid track record of delivering results that help both businesses and job seekers: Of the students that participated in our internship program over the last five years, 84 percent of them accepted jobs in Michigan upon graduation,” said Bill Mayer, Ann Arbor SPARK’s vice president of entrepreneurial services. “It’s vital that we not only attract talent to Michigan, but retain young jobseekers post-graduation as a strategy to extend the pipeline of workers available to growing companies.”