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Press Release Baker-Polito Administration Boosts STEM Internship Opportunities for 2,300 Additional High School Students 

Work-Based Learning Alliance partnership enables students to do virtual internships with employers across the Commonwealth
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  • Executive Office of Education

Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Boosts STEM Internship Opportunities for 2,300 Additional High School Students 

Colleen Quinn, Communications Director, Executive Office of Education

CAMBRIDGE — Today the Baker-Polito Administration announced that it has achieved its goal of providing STEM-based paid internships to 10,000 high school students in Massachusetts. An additional 2,300 high school students this year will be able to receive paid internships in STEM fields and industries due to a partnership with the Work-Based Learning Alliance (WBLA), which will give hundreds of students opportunities to learn through research, experience with cyberattack simulators, and other projects using cybersecurity tools. The internships are made possible through $4 million in state grants the administration announced in April to boost the total number of state-sponsored high school internships to 10,000 each year.

Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and Education Secretary James Peyser toured IBM in Cambridge today to make the announcement as part of STEM Week, the 5th annual week-long celebration highlighting the importance of STEM education in the Commonwealth.

The Work-Based Learning Alliance recently received a $825,000 grant to connect high school students with STEM employers, including Practera and its collaboration with IBM. IBM will provide the participating schools with technology training through IBM SkillsBuild and also sponsor cybersecurity work-based learning projects for approximately 500 high school students across multiple states, including Massachusetts. These projects will give students real-world experience in cybersecurity jobs like threat assessment and vulnerability scanning.

Students will engage remotely with employers from a wide variety of businesses, located anywhere, through the Practera platform, a leading global provider of experiential learning technology. Students will work with industry professionals to get feedback on cybersecurity projects and use professional IBM security tools. Currently, there are approximately 20,000 open cybersecurity jobs in Massachusetts, with the average entry level salary ranging from $80,000 to $100,000.

“In order to develop a robust pipeline of STEM talent from the classroom to the Massachusetts workforce, it is critical that employers and industry leaders engage with students – early and often – to expose them to the types of success they could achieve after graduation,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The hands-on skills building and experiences that STEM internships deliver for students are invaluable for not just students, but for the businesses and employers who are supported by the partnership.”

“By making paid internships in leading STEM industries more accessible for all students, regardless of where they live, we can help close achievement and opportunity gaps that persist for communities who continue to be underrepresented in STEM industries, such as students of color and girls,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “We appreciate the employers who are willing to take on this important work to partner with schools, and in doing so, help develop the next generation of STEM leaders, and we hope to see more businesses join the effort.”

 “More young people need opportunities for workplace learning in a real-world environment. But not enough high school students have internships before they graduate,” said Education Secretary James Peyser. “Providing 10,000 high school students this year with opportunities to learn from employers is a big accomplishment that hopefully will impact these students’ future decisions in positive ways.”

“Work-based learning internships and projects are essential to developing the skills and networks that today’s students need to succeed beyond the classroom,” said WBLA Executive Director Prue Clifford. “We are delighted to be partnering with the Commonwealth to deliver these all-important experiences and remain committed to our mission of making work-based learning accessible, equitable and sustainable for all high schools.”

“As part of STEM week, we are excited to support students across Massachusetts through IBM SkillsBuild,” said Lydia Logan, IBM Vice President for Global Education and Workforce Development CSR. “IBM SkillsBuild offers students entry level training for the most in-demand IT skills like cybersecurity, cloud computing and data science. We’re inspired by these students’ passion for STEM, and proud to participate in this initiative as part of our commitment to skill 30 million people globally by 2030.”

About WBLA:
The Work-Based Learning Alliance is a Massachusetts-based non-profit with a mission to provide high school students across the United States access to high-quality work-based learning - at no cost to students - to develop the skills necessary to succeed in the workforce. WBLA provides students opportunities to work virtually on team projects at participating employers. WBLA supports schools by connecting them to its network of businesses, as well as help schools develop their own network of local industry partners. The approach ensures students are paid fairly, have safe inclusive virtual work environments, and supported during their work experiences while developing in-demand skills as they connect with potential employers.


Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Boosts STEM Internship Opportunities for 2,300 Additional High School Students 

Executive Office of Education 

From pre-school to post-secondary education, the Executive Office of Education works to connect all Massachusetts residents with an education that creates opportunities.

While Massachusetts' students rank first in the nation on many educational measures, the Executive Office of Education strives to strengthen the foundations of education reform, empower schools and educators, and develop pathways to college and careers so all students in the Commonwealth can succeed, regardless of their zip code.