Internships give people a big leg up in the profession they want to pursue as a career.
However, students with academic debt can’t afford unpaid internships.
Four years ago, UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski proposed that the State of Maryland pay half the cost of internships with high tech start-ups.
I introduced a bill, and it passed. But it was not funded.
Then Amazon made known its intent to open HQ2 – its second headquarters.
I suggested to the Hogan Administration that funding these internships would send a signal that Maryland was building a pipeline of highly qualified high tech employees.
Governor Hogan put $340,000 in this year’s budget.
House Bill 527 would extend the high tech intern program to state and local governments. It would also remove the provision in the existing law that limits the internships to start ups with less than 150 employees.
Amazon does not meet that definition.
One of the students who testified in support of the bill today said that he is a Walter Sondheim Scholar.
Walter was Baltimore’s foremost public citizen.
When I enacted legislation to fund internships in public service or the non-profit sector, I named it in Walter’s memory.
Every summer, at the start of their program, I speak to those interns about public service.
This fall, I hope to speak to the first group of high tech interns.
I’ll tell them that Sergey Brin, founder of Google, went to public school and college in Maryland – after his family emigrated here from the Soviet Union.