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Ohio Career Exploration Internship Program

This program is no longer accepting applications

For assistance, contact

Shannon Vanderpool
Office of Strategic Business Investments
(614) 644-8560
Shannon.Vanderpool@development.ohio.gov

The Ohio Career Exploration Internship Program is designed to help Ohio high school students explore potential careers and gain valuable work experience in a professional environment. Through an internship of at least 20 weeks and 200 hours of training, students have the opportunity to explore all aspects of a profession and gain better understanding of the training needed to enter a career field. This internship program is not focused on one task, but is to provide students with a wide range of experiences within a career field.

  • Example: an intern in an accounting firm learns basic accounting skills, and learns more about the different roles in the office such as human resources, marketing, client relations, and office management.
  • Example: an intern in the manufacturing sector should work with management in the office as well as those along the production line.
  • Example: an intern in a retail setting learns about customer service, and has the opportunity to learn about product sales and marketing, scheduling, payroll, and inventory management.

How it works

This is a partnership driven program between a business and a student. Working together the student and business identify the goals of the internship and complete an online application. Once the application is approved by the Ohio Development Services Agency, the internship can begin.

Program interns are employed for at least 20 weeks and complete at least 200 hours of work and instruction. Upon completion of the internship the business and student complete a final report outlining the achievements of the internship. After review of the report, the business is reimbursed for 50 percent of the intern’s wages.

Businesses with high school interns working in an in-demand career may apply up to 30 days after the start of the student's internship.

Student Eligibility

  • Students entitled to attend high school in Ohio (including public, private, community, online, career-technical and home schools).
  • Students must be between the ages of 16–18 years old or enrolled in grades 11 or 12.

Business Eligibility

  • Businesses must operate as a sole proprietorship, for-profit entity, or a pass-through entity.
  • Businesses must have been in operation for 12 months in the state of Ohio.
  • Businesses must host interns at a location in the state of Ohio.
  • Businesses may have up to three Career Exploration Internship candidates in one calendar year.

Career Exploration Internship Program Frequently Asked Questions

The Career Exploration Internship Program is designed to help Ohio high school students explore potential careers and valuable work experience in a professional environment. Interns have the opportunity to explore all aspects of a profession and gain better understanding of the training needed to enter a career field. The program is not focused on one task, but is designed to provide students with a wide range of experiences within a career field.

To qualify for the Career Exploration Internship Program, both the business and the student must meet eligibility requirements. Students must be eligible to attend school in the state of Ohio, and be between 16 and 18 years old or enrolled in grades 11 or 12. Businesses must be in operation in the state of Ohio for at least 12 months, host the intern at an Ohio location, and be either a sole proprietorship, for-profit entity, or a pass-through entity as defined by the Ohio Revised Code Section 5733.04.

Career Exploration Internships are initiated by a business or a student. Once the business and student agree on the terms of the internship, the business can begin the application process. The state does not match students and businesses.

Internships can start as soon as the application is approved. The Ohio Development Services Agency will approve applications on a first come, first served basis. Businesses with high school interns working in an in-demand career may apply up to 30 days after the start of the student's internship.

The internship must be at least 20 weeks and include at least 200 hours of paid work and instruction.

Businesses may host up to three Career Exploration interns in a calendar year and can be reimbursed 50 percent of each interns salary, up to $5,000.

To apply for the Career Internship Program, a student must identify a business and secure an internship position with the business. Once the student has identified a business, the business can begin the online application process.

Once the application is approved, the intern must complete at least 20 weeks and 200 hours of paid work and instruction within one year of the application approval. To receive reimbursement for the intern's salary, the business and student must complete a final report within 30 days of the conclusion of the internship.

The business must comply with all applicable employment laws.

To be eligible for the Career Exploration Internship Program, a business must have been in business in the state of Ohio for at least 12 months, host the intern at an Ohio location, and operate as a sole proprietorship, for-profit entity or a pass-through entity as defined by the Ohio Revised Code Section 5733.04

Before sending information to a business, students, along with their school counselors and parents, should determine what careers interest them. Once they have identified a career path, the student should contact a local business in that field to determine if internships are available. Once the student identifies the internship at the business, the business should begin completing the online application.

The Career Exploration Internship Program has $1 million in funding from the license fees for casino facilities.

A business can host up to three interns in a calendar year.

A business can be reimbursed 50 percent of the intern's salary, up to $5,000.

Yes, a business can extend the internship of a Career Exploration Intern. However, the business will not be eligible for salary reimbursement until the next calendar year. If the intern continues to work for a business after the end of a Career Exploration Internship and before the approval of the internship extension, the salary of the intern during that time is not eligible for reimbursement.

The business and student must update the application with the Ohio Development Services Agency. All internship extensions will be contingent on funding availability.

Yes, you can apply for the program as long as you are between the ages of 16 and 18 years old and entitled to attend high school in the state of Ohio.

The business must submit within 30 days after the end of the internship or 13 months after the approval of the application, whichever comes first, the following information:

  • The date the student began the internship;
  • The date the internship ended or a statement that the student will continue to be employed by the business;
  • The total number of hours the student was employed during the internship;
  • The total wages paid by the business to the student during the internship;
  • A signed statement by the student intern briefly describing the duties performed during the internship and the skills and experiences gained throughout the internship; and
  • A signed statement of acknowledgement by the school counselor or principal of the post-internship meeting with the student intern.

No, nonprofits or public entities are not eligible to participate in the program. Eligible entities include sole proprietorships, for-profit entities or pass-through entities as defined by the Ohio Revised Code Section 5733.04.

No, only internships at business locations in the state of Ohio are eligible for the program. A business must also be operating for at least 12 months in the state of Ohio to be eligible.