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Empowering San Diego’s Youth: Prebys Foundation's Initiative for Work-Based Learning Opportunities


Engaging in work-based learning is crucial for students to thrive post-graduation, whether they've earned a degree or a professional credential. Such experiences, including internships, are essential for acquiring new skills, expanding professional networks, and refining career aspirations. Research supports that internships can enhance academic outcomes, boost confidence in career choices, improve job prospects, and increase satisfaction in one's career path. For employers, interns with practical experience are often seen as more attractive candidates, leading to potential full-time employment opportunities.


Introducing the Youth Workforce - Apprenticeships and Internships Initiative

Prebys Foundation is excited to launch the Youth Workforce - Apprenticeships and Internships Initiative. Organizations are welcome to apply March 5 - April 2, 2024. Link to the application and frequently asked questions are available here.


This program aims to facilitate the transition from educational settings to the workforce for young individuals aged 16-26 by funding cooperative efforts. Our goal is to provide immersive employment experiences, such as paid internships and apprenticeships, that equip young adults with the necessary skills and training for success in the workplace and career advancement.


The foundation will offer grants for one or two years, with funding up to $200,000 annually. We anticipate supporting between 10 and 15 projects under this initiative.


The Importance of Paid Internships and Apprenticeships

Paid internships stand out for their ability to yield significant benefits. Participants of paid internships often receive more job offers and command higher starting salaries compared to their peers in unpaid positions. A 2022 study highlighted that paid interns had a median starting salary of $62,500, significantly higher than the $42,500 reported by unpaid interns, indicating a substantial financial advantage over the course of a career.


Furthermore, work-based learning is linked to increased career satisfaction, a stronger belief that one's education has contributed to achieving personal goals, and a sense of value for the educational investment.


Addressing Inequalities in Access

However, it's important to note that there are disparities in who accesses paid internships. Students of color and those who are the first in their families to attend college are less likely to secure paid internships, which predominantly benefit male, white students, and those from families with a history of college education. This imbalance not only reinforces existing socio-economic disparities but also impacts job offers and starting salaries for underrepresented groups.


Unpaid internships often exclude students who must work to support their education, further advantaging those who can afford to work without immediate financial compensation. This perpetuates a cycle where privileged students gain valuable experience, skills, and professional connections that are inaccessible to their less privileged counterparts.


By increasing the availability of paid internships to underrepresented groups, we can enhance access, opportunity, and success for these students, meet critical employment needs, and foster a more diverse workforce.


Our vision is a future where every student seeking a career can access high-quality work-based learning opportunities, including paid internships and apprenticeships.


For more information on the criteria and objectives of the Youth Workforce - Apprenticeships and Internships Initiative, please visit the initiative page.

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