Bizzarro, Harkins, Merski: More than $90,000 awarded to provide paid internships for area students, young adults

ERIE, March 5 – Area students and young job seekers will benefit from new internship opportunities, thanks to a $90,189 grant from the state Department of Labor and Industry, state Reps. Ryan Bizzarro, Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, all D-Erie, announced today.

The grant to the Northwest Workforce Development Board will fund summer internships that pay a minimum of $10.35 an hour for students and young adults from 16 to 24.

“Internships provide a perfect way for students and young adults to get a jump on career readiness by giving them an early, real-world look into the modern workplace,” Bizzarro said. “Those experiences can go a long way toward building confidence in young job seekers, familiarizing them with new technology and making the modern work setting seem more familiar and less daunting.”

Harkins agreed, noting, “No amount of classroom training can substitute for actual workplace experience. Summer internships open so many doors: they help young job seekers understand whether their skills are a good match for a given field, they introduce them to the climate and expectations of a modern workplace, and they provide real-time exposure to the latest technology and techniques in rapidly changing modern job settings.”

Merski added that the benefits flow both ways, helping employers, as well.

“In addition to exposing young job seekers to new skills and learning experiences, summer internships provide a great opportunity for area employers to shape and guide the next generation of workers,” Merski said. “Early workforce training emphasizing specific, in-demand skills ensures that there will be a strong talent pool of job applicants who are prepared to step into those jobs.”

The funding is part of a $4.7 million package of grants to 21 Local Workforce Development boards statewide to create nearly 1,500 summer internships. The SLIP program is fully funded through federal money available under the Workplace Innovation and Opportunity Act.

More information about the grants is available through the Department of Labor and Industry’s website at