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Ann Arbor Spark

Michigan STEM Forward Participating Companies

Michigan colleges produce exceptional talent, perfect for the state’s large number of innovative, growing companies. By participating in the STEM Forward internship program, companies can review resumes from the state’s top aspiring talent. Financial assistance for qualifying companies may be available.

Interested in working with a STEM Forward intern?

Getting started is simple:

  1. Read through the following information on program eligibility and participation requirements, as well as the criteria for how your application will be evaluated.
  2. Complete a program application, available below.

PLEASE NOTE: A referral from your local economic development organization is a necessary part of your application.  The MISTEM Forward team will send a request to the representative you identify in your application on your behalf.  We highly encourage you to connect with this organization beforehand to ensure a strong referral.  If you aren’t sure who that is, you can find your representative using our SmartZone directory or working with an SBDC representative.

Michigan STEM Forward Information Session

Recorded June 1, 2021

Here’s how the STEM Forward internship program works for participating companies:

  • Companies who successfully complete the STEM Forward application and approval process will be given access to a resume database of interested Michigan college students. Individual student profile information will include their preferred industries, locations, and availability. If you already have an intern candidate identified, that is fine as well.
  • After the intern selection has been made, your company representative will work with Ann Arbor SPARK to begin the onboarding process. The student intern you have selected will be hired directly by Ann Arbor SPARK as a temporary W-2. SPARK will handle all payroll, tax, and compliance responsibilities.
  • Ann Arbor SPARK will pay up to 50 percent of the intern’s wages for a 10 – 12-week internship period, up to $3,000 for a full-time intern and up to $1,500 for a part-time intern.
  • Your company will pay the remaining 50 percent match directly to Ann Arbor SPARK broken into individual payroll intervals. As with Ann Arbor SPARK’s amount detailed above, this will be up to $3,000 for a full-time intern and up to $1,500 for a part-time intern. In addition, companies will be charged 12 percent of wages to cover FICA, FUTA taxes, and worker’s compensation associated with direct wages.
  • The minimum wage for this program is $15 per hour. Companies are welcome to set their own wage above that amount with the understanding that once the match has been exhausted the company is responsible for 100 percent of the cost.
  • Although most internships run over the summer, your organization can apply to participate year-round. Also, while your organization can apply for multiple internships, the final number of positions awarded will depend on fund availability and alignment to the qualification criteria below.

Does your organization qualify for the program?

To be eligible to participate in STEM Forward, your company must be:

  • Michigan-based or have a strong operational presence in Michigan
  • Any size company is eligible — from enterprise organizations to startups — so long as it is a legal entity (C-Corp, S-Corp, LLC, LLP, B-Corp, nonprofits, etc.)
  • Your internship position must have a strong STEM focus 
  • You will provide a direct supervisor to the intern that is capable and willing to provide a meaningful work and career experience. 

How will my organization’s application be evaluated?

Depending on program demand, not everyone will receive an award. Companies applying to participate in STEM Forward will be evaluated according to several key criteria, including the following: 

  • Technology-focused businesses are preferred.
  • The organization’s financial need.
  • The internship’s job description, relevancy to STEM fields, and work experience.
  • An organization’s previous experience working with interns, as well as the proposed intern supervisor.
  • Strength of referring organization’s recommendation.
  • The organization’s current hiring status. (What is the availability of open positions and is the company actively hiring.)

Note that these key criteria are evaluated by your local economic development organization as part of their referral.

Ready to get started with STEM Forward?

Fill out a company application today and contact your local Michigan STEM Forward representative! Not sure who that is?  Find your representative using our SmartZone directory or the SBDC directory.  For more information please contact mistemforward@annarborusa.org.