AmCham Macedonia Summer 2015 (Issue 46) - Page 7

ANALYSIS Internships’ Potential Photo by: Maja Janevska-Ilieva full-time in manufacturing or logistics over a six-week period. engineering studies are now participating in internships in companies that recover program-related costs from the industry promotion association that runs the program. According to US News & World Report, “the internship pairs students in high school engineering and manufacturing programs with area companies.”3 The students work 3 “High School Students Head to Factories for Internships,” US News & World Report, June 22, 2015. http://www.usnews.com/ news/stem-solutions/articles/2015/06/22/ high-school-students-head-to-factories-forinternships While the U.S. public sector (on local and national levels) has always been a popular employer of liberal arts students, the latest internship trend caused by government policy was in fact meant to address a perceived skills gap harming American competiveness in the hard sciences and skilled manufacturing. In 2011, President Barack Obama announced the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP), a $500 million project that brings government, industry and universities together to “support the creation of good jobs by helping U.S. manufacturers reduce costs, improve quality, and accelerate product development.”4 college semesters, and are offered in fields related to surface engineering, manufacturing systems, machining technologies, additive manufacturing, welding and more. Here in Macedonia, the ESA took a step in the right direction with their programs that cover many intern-related costs for companies who engage the officially unem- With the views and preferences of foreign companies already influencing local labor market practices, both the number and quality of internship opportunities are increasing. Since industry’s current specialized job needs outpace qualified graduate numbers, internships are naturally a key component of the AMP. One example of a partner in the program is the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing, which offers research internships for undergraduate and graduate students at its “worldclass” applied research facility in Virginia.5 Internships overlap with 4 “President Obama Launches Advanced Manufacturing Partnership,” White House Press Release, June 24, 2011. https://www. whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/06/24/ president-obama-launches-advancedmanufacturing-partnership 5 “Intern at CCAM,” Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing, April 20, 2015. http://www.ccam-va.com/job/interns ployed young people (non-students), something not generally allowed by current Labor Law.6 Unfortunately, these programs have been rather limited in scope and do not strategically target certain skill sets or industries. They also do not help place current high school or university students in internships, since they do not appear on ESA roles. 6 For example, the ESARM Direct Grant Contract “Support to the Employment of Young People, Long-Term Unemployed and Women (II)” project funded by the European Union Continued on page 34 Summer 2015 Issue 46  7