Internship tax credits are an idea we can all support | Shevrin Jones

April 28, 2021

Florida Future Caucus Co-Chair Sen. Shevrin Jones details his proposed Internship Tax Credit Program.

Internships are a stepladder to success and serve as a top hiring source for companies and organizations — for people who can find and afford them. For everyone else, they can be costly, competitive and hard to find. The all-important hands-on work experience that is required of many entry-level jobs can pass right by, leaving far too many students behind before they even enter the workforce and start their lives.

The opportunity gap is even more pronounced in communities of color, a reality affirmed in recent National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) research. NACE’s analysis found that Black students are underrepresented as paid interns and overrepresented as unpaid interns, while Hispanic students are overrepresented among students without internship experience upon graduation. These disparities are also pronounced along gender and socioeconomic lines, resulting in some students having the chance to learn, refine their skills, and strengthen their resumes while others do not.

This is especially true now as the pandemic has gutted communities across the state, and countless Floridians have lost hours, their jobs or their businesses through no fault of their own. These challenges — and their long-term impacts on our economy — call for solutions that boost internship opportunities for students in Florida. That’s why I recently filed Senate Bill 258, a bill to create a new Internship Tax Credit Program to incentivize small businesses via a tax credit for each degree-seeking student intern that they hire for an internship.

I am encouraged that colleagues on both sides of the aisle recognize the impact this can have for young people as our bill moves through Senate committees with unanimous support. As a Co-Chair of the Millennial Action Project’s bipartisan Florida Future Caucus, I have committed to prioritizing access to education and expanding career opportunities for young people. High-quality internship opportunities are an important aspect of a student’s development and can pay off over the course of a young person’s career. Beyond skills and experience, students who complete internships can also grow their networks, leading to more job prospects and earning potential for years to come.

Data shows that a majority of internships do in fact translate into job offers. Internships provide clear paths to stable, well-paying jobs. Prioritizing practical hands-on experience for students is simply common sense.

The pandemic and recovery ahead only underscore the need for action. By encouraging businesses to provide our students with opportunities to advance their knowledge and experience, we can prepare them for a career after they graduate.

here is a cost associated with businesses taking on new interns, and it takes resources and time to get a new intern up to speed, as other employees take time out of their day for teaching and mentoring. This translates to real costs, meaning internships are unsustainable to take on and offer for many small businesses.

This bill is mutually beneficial for students and employers alike. Boosting opportunities in students’ fields of study will create thousands of new positions that some students might not be able to find otherwise, while simultaneously providing small businesses with smart, driven people who are ready and willing to work. Removing barriers so that diverse, new talent can access opportunities is an important step in unlocking all of our shared potential.

An internship is an investment in the future, and while there are still many steps we need to take to make sure they are available for everyone regardless of zip code, class, race or economic standing, this bill is an important step forward for Florida. There is a lot of work we need to do to make sure that these opportunities are available to everyone no matter their circumstances, especially in the shadows of the pandemic.

What’s clear is that solutions are sorely needed to make sure that Florida remains competitive and that our students are best set up for success.

Read this article on sun-sentinel.com >

Rep. Sara Jacobs


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