Frequently Asked Questions for Prospective Interns
What is the Internship Challenge?
The Internship Challenge is a workforce development program focused on enhancing the talent pipeline for Massachusetts companies engaged in the life sciences. The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) facilitates the placement of students and recent graduates interested in life sciences career opportunities in paid internships across the state throughout the year. Consistent with the MLSC’s role as a catalyst in growing the talent needed by the life sciences industry, the Internship Challenge is designed to create hundreds of new internship opportunities each year by enabling small businesses to hire paid interns. The MLSC reimburses eligible companies for intern stipends.
What are the program’s objectives?
The program seeks to build a robust and diverse workforce pipeline for the state’s life science industry by:
- Creating new paid internship opportunities that may not have otherwise existed by enabling small companies to host interns.
- Providing college students with hands-on real-world experience and direct exposure to the Massachusetts life sciences ecosystem.
- Helping students build a professional network in the life sciences industry and gain relevant work experience needed to enter the workforce.
- Connecting companies with diverse talent and incentivize them to hire underrepresented/underserved students.
- Supporting the growth of smaller life sciences companies by providing/subsidizing human capital and allowing them to “test-drive” future employees.
- Encouraging life sciences careers and talent retention in Massachusetts.
How does the program work?
Students or recent graduates looking for internships in the life sciences industry first complete an online application, which includes their resume and a cover letter. Applications are accepted year‐round but expire after six months if not updated. Representatives from companies looking to host interns submit an online application, and once approved, are given access to a searchable database of applications. They review applications, interview candidates, and select interns with the qualifications that are most suited to their needs. Internships can be part or full time and can take place throughout the Program Year, which runs from May 1st through April 30.
The MLSC will reimburse eligible companies for pay rates of up to $20 per hour for a total reimbursement of no more than $9,600 per intern at the conclusion of the internship.
When will the program begin accepting applications and how do prospective interns apply? Is there a deadline?
The MLSC accepts applications through its website year‐round – there is no application deadline. Applications will only be accepted online and must include a resume and cover letter (in pdf format).
Once submitted, applications are made available to companies reviewing candidates and will remain in our database for up to six months. Applicants have the ability to log in at any time to withdraw or update their application.
What are the eligibility requirements for prospective interns?
Prospective interns will be required to meet the following eligibility requirements:
- Must be Massachusetts residents (proof of residency required), attend an accredited college or university located in Massachusetts (enrollment verification required), OR attend a Minority Serving Institution (MSI) such as a Historically Black College or University (HBCU); and
- Program Criteria:
- Currently enrolled in a 2-year college or community college or a Certificate Program working toward an Associate’s Degree or Certificate (or have completed one within the past year).
- Enrolled in a 4-year college or university and have completed at least their freshman 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 have received their Master’s Degree within the past year. Ph.D. and M.D. candidates are not eligible.
- Interns cannot participate in more than one subsidized internship in the same Program Year.
- Interns cannot participate in more than two subsidized internships with the same company.
- Interns cannot be the spouse, child, grandchild, sibling, niece, nephew, or spouse of a child, grandchild, sibling, niece, or nephew of ANY employee of the company.
Will prospective interns know which companies are reviewing their applications?
The names of participating companies will not be posted. The program is designed so that companies review applications and contact applicants directly if they are interested in arranging an interview.
How many interns will be selected?
The MLSC anticipates supporting more than 500 interns this Program Year (May 1 through April 30).
What paperwork is required once an intern is selected?
Interns will have to satisfy all paperwork requirements as requested by the employer (which can vary). Interns are not required to execute an Agreement with the MLSC. However, all applicants are required to upload eligibility verification documentation as part of their application (college transcript, college ID, or proof of Massachusetts residency (for out-of-state colleges).
Interns complete a survey of their experience upon completion of their internship. A survey link will be emailed to the intern.
What does the MLSC expect of an intern during their internship?
The MLSC expects that interns maintain a professional demeanor throughout their internship and comply with all host company policies. It is also expected that interns complete all weeks of their internship as initially agreed upon with their host company. If an intern cannot fulfill his or her commitment to the internship, providing sufficient advanced notice to their supervisor is required. Companies reserve the right to terminate the internship at any time and for any reason.
What is the internship pay rate and how will interns be paid?
Interns will be hired and paid directly by their host company. The pay rate should be established and agreed to prior to accepting the internship offer. The MLSC will commit to reimburse companies for pay rates between $17 and $20 per hour for a total amount of up to $9,600 per intern. However, companies are welcome to pay interns a higher rate with any amounts over the maximum not subsidized by the MLSC. Companies are required to pay their interns at a frequency that is in accordance with Chapter 149, Section 148 of the Massachusetts General Laws, as amended, and any other applicable law and include in each payment all applicable employment taxes in accordance with state and federal law.