Are you an employer interested in starting a new internship, apprenticeship, or co-op program? Would you like to enrich your existing experiential learning program? The Maine Career Catalyst program is your ticket.
“The summer internship experience arose from a need to attract more people to the state and to give young people in Maine reasons to stay,” said Dr. Kimberly Hamilton, president of FocusMaine, which launched the program in 2017. The program has served nearly 2,000 students since then, working with nearly 90 Maine employers. “We want young people from Maine and from across the country to learn about the breadth of opportunities in the state, and we want to create a lasting affinity for the state. In short, we want to make opportunities in the state irresistible.”
Educate Maine can provide tools, support, and mentorship to businesses looking to start or build a program at no cost to employers. Program Director Kate Howell is a SHRM Certified Senior Professional. Kate and the Educate Maine team can also provide confidential problem solving to those in need during the program and connections to other resources as needed. Live and Work in Maine also plays an essential role in the program by promoting Maine and all it has to offer at internship events and by posting internships on their job board, thereby connecting employers with great talent.
“Maine Career Catalyst’s internship program has been invaluable in introducing students from Maine and across the country to Bangor Savings Bank and taught them Maine is a place where they can have a fulfilling career and rich quality of life,” said David Pease, senior vice president / director of talent, diversity and inclusion at Bangor Savings Bank.
This year, despite the ongoing pandemic, 38 employers in various industries hosted 484 interns across the state, including 105 interns in FocusMaine’s key sectors—the food economy, biotechnology, and aquaculture. Students participated in virtual, hybrid, and in-person settings.
The Maine Career Catalyst program partners are committed to supporting efforts in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. With the support of FocusMaine and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Maine Career Catalyst offered for the first time this year equity stipends for 10 Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC) interns. The stipends, part of the “Equity in Internships Program,” address barriers to internship access and completion. The Equity in Internships Program (EQUIP) was created as part of a $50,000 grant from the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation to reduce barriers that have prevented Black and Brown and other students of color from accessing internships as part of their pathway to a career in Maine. This year, 27% of the participants identified as BIPOC.
Furthermore, Maine Career Catalyst has recently expanded its reach to provide more career connections for more students. While the summer internship program will continue to be an important part of the program, Maine Career Catalyst now partners with employers that offer apprenticeships and cooperative education. This new approach better meets the needs of Maine’s different economic sectors and recognizes the many pathways to a successful career.
Employers interested in partnering with Maine Career Catalyst or sponsoring an event can learn more about the program at mainecareercatalyst.org/employers and by contacting Jason Judd, executive director of Educate Maine, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.