Internships · Grants

The GAP year is a defining moment. Why is there no subsidy for high school grads as Interns?

Wendy Robertson Innovation Strategy and Customer Development

July 6th, 2015

I was alarmed to find that High school graduation doesn't qualify a candidate or company for any help with internship. When I looked into hiring a high school graduate as an intern at one of my advisory companies, I found no help from any grants, governments or schools.Whereas I could get funds matching for an intern attending University, there is nothing for a high school student who decides to strike off in a start up direction. It seems that if you are a high school graduate, wanting to work for a gap year, or forever, your options don't include working for a start up. Ironically, a high school student can get a grant to start a company. Prove me wrong. Help me find some help for hiring high school students as start up interns. 

Lee Guertin Editorial Research Manager, Online Analytics

July 6th, 2015

Community colleges are a cheaper option than most university programs. Generally there is an independent study or internship option if a student is associated with an accredited program. There are also internship programs at most community colleges to draw candidates from. Continuing education and building a resume is a good thing to encourage anyway, even during "gap years", and will potentially help a student/recent HS grad in future paid employment as well as University admission. Otherwise, they don't generally qualify as an "intern" and should be paid as employees or temp workers at a lower rate due to lack of professional and educational credentials and experience. Or if they are "interns" the assumption would be that there would be no support for costs of employing them. Not meeting the criteria for internship without being affiliated with a sponsoring program or school is the main problem there. Being between education engagements does not qualify a person or candidate as a "student" to meet the criteria for internship related funding or assistance. (Though being on a wait list or pending admission may be an exception.) The definition includes regulations to qualify. A person can get assistance to start a company without a university degree because they aren't interns in that scenario and are subject to different employment laws and regulations. I've worked with several small companies/start-ups and they all had interns who received college or high school credit and/or pay. Only one didn't, and there was no funding or assistance received to support costs for him. It was "pro bono". Hope this helps!

Wendy Robertson Innovation Strategy and Customer Development

November 9th, 2015

I've had several high school students in summer jobs work at start ups. They are every bit as effective as college or university students. They both benefit from exposure to a trade or professional skill and they both make new choices about their career path based on their experience. Drawing the line for wage subsidies between high school and college is an issue for me because high school students with exposure to real work can course correct before entering an undergraduate program. I think the idea of subsidies is to create more of these jobs. I think I will hassle my local politician for more answers. Thanks so much. Wendy