The Michigan STEM Forward program matches students attending Michigan colleges and universities, and Michigan students attending out-of-state institutions, with internship opportunities at the state’s leading innovative companies. Companies do not have to be in a specific industry, but all internships must be STEM-focused. Michigan STEM Forward provides students meaningful career experience and promotes job retention in the state, while providing financial support to companies who hire these interns.
Based on Ann Arbor SPARK’s successful internship match program, the state tapped the regional economic development organization to steer the new statewide initiative, working with the regional SmartZone organizations as well as many other economic development partners to connect companies with interested students.
“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 aspiring jobseekers post-graduation as a strategy to extend the pipeline of workers available to growing companies.”
Each year, the program will place 425-450 STEM students currently attending Michigan colleges or Michigan residents attending out-of-state institutions into STEM-focused internships throughout Michigan. STEM Forward is administered by Ann Arbor SPARK with funding from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).