The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center’s Internship Challenge is a workforce development program focused on enhancing the talent pipeline for Massachusetts companies engaged in life sciences. The program facilitates the placement of students and recent graduates who are considering career opportunities in the life sciences in paid internships across the state. Consistent with the MLSC’s role as a catalyst in growing the talent needed by the life sciences industry, the program is designed to create hundreds of new internship opportunities each year by enabling small businesses to hire paid interns.
Objectives of the Internship Challenge include expanding the pool of prospective employees who have practical experience, enhancing opportunities for mentoring, enabling more students to explore career opportunities despite the challenging economic environment, and providing to students interested in working in the life sciences a peer network through educational and informational networking events.
Internships can be part or full time and can take place throughout the Program Year, which runs from May 1st through April 30th.
Students or recent graduates that are looking for an internship in the life sciences industry will need to first complete an online application, which includes their resume and a cover letter. Applications are accepted year-round but will expire after six months if not renewed.
Companies interested in hosting interns can register with the MLSC at any time throughout the year to gain access to our database of prospective interns. Once approved, company representatives can then review applications, interview candidates, and select interns with the qualifications that are most suited to their needs. Companies can hire up to two interns per Program Year, but have the option to hire up to two additional interns that are enrolled in a 2-year/community college or certificate program. The MLSC will reimburse eligible companies for pay rates of up to $15 per hour for a total reimbursement of no more than $7,200 per intern at the conclusion of the internship.
Since the program first launched in 2009, the MLSC has placed more than 1,400 interns at nearly 380 companies throughout Massachusetts!
JoAn Blake and Dr. Lydia Villa-Komaroff, CSO at CytomoneST, share their experiences as participants of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center’s Internship Challenge Program. JoAn’s internship was partially funded by the SCILS Initiative (Skilled Careers in Life Sciences), a $5 million, 4-year training grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. The interview was filmed and produced by the Boston Private Industry Council, one of the SCILS Initiative administrators.
Hear from other program participants by visiting our testimonials page.
In 2012, the MLSC received an $800,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to expand the Internship Challenge over 4-years as part of the $5 million Metro Boston Skilled Careers in Life Sciences (SCILS) initiative to grow and maintain the area’s life sciences workforce. Serving more than 80 cities and towns, SCILS is being implemented in collaboration with the City of Boston’s Jobs and Community Services (JCS), the Boston Private Industry Council (PIC), and the MetroNorth, Metro Southwest, and South Coastal workforce regions. About 75 Internship Challenge interns will be selected each year to have their stipend subsidized in part by this federal grant.
- Must be legal permanent residents of Massachusetts (able to provide proof of residency) OR attend(ed) a college or university located in Massachusetts (able to provide enrollment verification); and
- Must meet one of the following:
- 2-year/Community College/Certificate students must be enrolled in an Associate’s Degree or Certificate program or completed one within the past year.
- 4-year college or university students must have or will complete(d) at least their sophomore year the semester before the internship, or have graduated within the past year.
- Graduate students must be enrolled in a Master’s Degree program or received their Master’s Degree within the past year. Ph.D. and M.D. students are not eligible.
- Must be located in Massachusetts and internships must take place in Massachusetts. Companies are required to be registered to do business in Massachusetts and must submit to MLSC Certificates of Good Standing from both the MA Department of Revenue and the MA Secretary of the Commonwealth (click on links to request). Companies will also need to provide MLSC with a signed copy of their Form W-9 upon requesting reimbursement.
- Must be small businesses (100 or fewer employees in MA and no more than 250 employees worldwide). Larger companies, subsidiaries of larger companies, and research institutions are welcome to participate in the program, however their internships would not be subsidized.
- Must be life sciences companies or companies that provide services to the life sciences industry. “Life sciences” is defined as: “advanced and applied sciences that expand the understanding of human physiology and have the potential to lead to medical advances or therapeutic applications,” – Massachusetts General Laws (MGL), chapter 23I, section 2.
- Must offer interns a hands-on learning experience and at least one mentor that directly oversees the internship.
- Interns are to be hired and paid directly by the host company. Any employed intern shall be treated as a W-2 employee of the company (not a contractor or subcontractor) for compensation purposes. However, interns must be hired for a temporary internship experience and not hired as permanent employees (interns can be hired full time upon completion of the MLSC-sponsored internship).
- It is preferred that interns are paid through a third party payroll service (e.g. ADP, Paychex, Intuit Payroll). If using an internal payroll system (e.g. QuickBooks) in which payroll is not processed by a third party, additional support in the form of signed weekly timesheets will be required.
- Multiple companies that are “Related Parties” can participate, however will be limited to the funding available for ONE company. Related Party Companies are defined as companies having common ownership and/or management personnel (including but not limited to the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, or Chief Operating Officer). Related Party Companies are also considered to be related if at any time one company has the ability to Control (as defined below) the other company or exercise influence over the other company in making financial and/or operating decisions. Control is defined as:
- ownership, directly or indirectly, of more than one half of the voting power of a company, or
- control of the composition of the board of directors, or other governing body of a company, or
- a substantial interest in voting power and the power to direct the financial and/or operating policies of the company.
- Companies cannot hire an intern who is the spouse, child, grandchild, sibling, niece, nephew, or spouse of a child, grandchild, sibling, niece, or nephew of ANY employee of the company.
- Interns cannot participate in more than one subsidized internship in the same Program Year.
- Interns cannot participate in more than two subsidized internships (over two Program Years) with the same company.
- Internships cannot also be subsidized by another state entity (such as MassTech or MassCEC). Companies participating in more than one state-funded internship program must hire different interns under each program.