Governor Deval L. Patrick
Internship Forum
Federal Reserve Bank, Boston
Monday, March 19, 2012

You all know education is our calling card around the world; it’s what we’re best known for. The concentration of brain power, the range of high quality universities and research institutions, hospitals and so forth is what we are best known for around the world and I say that not as a rhetorical point, I say that as somebody who has done business all over the world and proudly comes home to Massachusetts.

Some of you here have been on trade missions with us and know that when we go out and when we introduce ourselves to businesses, to government leaders, to social leaders of other parts of the world they’re always asking us about colleges and university and that concentration of brain power back here at home.

Our world-class public and private institutions produce the leaders, the inventors, the scientists, the policymakers, the engineers and the CEOs of today and tomorrow. Education is central to our competitiveness in the future and we owe it to ourselves to do everything we can to support our students. People know it all around the world. That’s why businesses come here. That’s how we’ve grown the life sciences cluster here – super cluster – to be the most important life sciences center in the world. It’s why IT is making such a strong rebound here in the Commonwealth, particularly emphasizing game technology and financial services for example.

We've moved from 47th in job creation in 2006 to 5th in the last couple of years.  We are first in the Kauffman Foundation’s New Economy Index.  We are first in the nation in entrepreneurship. The Beacon Hill Institute ranks Massachusetts the number one state in the country for economic competitiveness.  And we have come from the bottom third to sixth best state for business in America on the CNBC poll in which to do business. 

We have the best talent pool in the world and we need to encourage our people to stay here or to come back to Massachusetts when the finish school elsewhere.  And what’s to stop us from attracting students from states across the country and across the world to come here? We have so much to offer.

We need to work together across the public and private sectors to build and retain talent for the innovation economy of today and also of tomorrow.  One of the ways that I’m asking you to do this is through internship programs in your companies.  Every summer hundreds of students intern in life sciences companies across the state through the Massachusetts life science center’s internship program.  70 engineering students each summer are paired with civil engineers at MassDOT to work on bridge, highway and environmental projects in communities all across the Commonwealth.  And through the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, students gain real world experience through internships at local clean energy companies. 

These are some of the ways in which state government is trying to get young talent some practical experience, networking opportunities, mentorships and industry knowledge. And sometimes, they even get a full time position, maybe even a little money in the course of the summer. 

Now it’s your turn.  Every company needs a deep talent pool.  Most college and university students need the chance to sharpen their skills and as I said the Commonwealth needs that talent.  We need to retain more of the talent who come here for school, and we can do it by exposing people to internships.

Our Commonwealth Marketing Office working in partnership with the Boston Chamber has launched a free web portal which you will hear about – Ken mentioned it in his opening remarks – to spread the word about internship programs across the Commonwealth.   And I want to give a special thank you to Experience Inc. for providing the free portal and to Mary Kate Feeney – is Mary Kate here? There she is in the back – thank you Mary Kate for your work in designing and implementing the new portal.  There are nearly 2,000 students already signed-up for the site seeking internships in every industry imaginable.  We want this to be a clearinghouse of opportunities for young minds and a talent pool for companies like yours. 

Make use of the brainpower we have here.  Allow these students to work in your laboratories, in your offices, in your health care facilities, in your think tanks. Let them experience what it’s like to be in conference rooms with people of the depth of experience and range of talent that you all represent and that you’re allied with in your own companies. Let them experience and contribute to your design centers.  Recognize the stake that we all have in them and help them recognize the stake they have in us and we all win. 

Thank you all for being here.