(TRENTON) – An Assembly panel on Thursday approved legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Dan Benson, Wayne DeAngelo, Annette Quijano, Pamela Lampitt and Thomas Giblin to create more paid internship opportunities for college students in the life sciences field.
“This bill helps New Jersey students attain paid work experience in the life sciences field, which is an integral part of our state’s economy,” said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “We lose many of our college graduates to other states. By creating this opportunity, we can help retain some of that brainpower, while helping smaller life sciences companies invested in the state to grow.”
“Internships are often part of the course for college students looking for work experience before graduation. Unfortunately, many of them are unpaid,” said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “This program gives our college students a paid option in a burgeoning field, while strengthening the companies that will one day be looking to hire the best prospects. It’s a win-win.”
“Many careers began with a well-placed internship. Unfortunately, not all college students can afford to take an unpaid internship,” said Quijano (D-Union). “This program affords them the opportunity of experience and a paycheck, and gives the participating companies the chance to cultivate these students to be the type of professionals they will want to hire after graduation.”
“Many college students depend on summer work to save up for school related expenses like books, so they end up taking a retail job, which will help pay the bills, but will not prepare them to join the workforce in their field,” said Lampitt (D- Camden/Burlington). “This not only provides paid work experience in their chosen profession, but can lead to a permanent position after graduation.”
“Internships help build a student’s resume, but not every college student can afford to pass on a paycheck to take an unpaid internship,” said Giblin (D-Essex/Passaic). “This program provides more opportunities for students who cannot afford to take unpaid internships, and helps prepare them to enter today’s competitive workforce in a growing field that offers good wages to its workers.”
The bill (A-384) would create the “New Jersey Life Sciences Internship Challenge” program to provide tax credit subsidies to certain companies that have summer interns in the life sciences field.
Under the bill, any life science company that has a research laboratory within New Jersey may hire summer interns through the program, but only companies that have their principal place of business in the State and have fewer than 100 employees are eligible to receive the tax credit subsidy.
The bill would direct the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to administer the program and set the number of internships that will be subsidized each year, which may be up to 150. The amount of the tax credit is to be equal to wages paid to the intern. However, at most $15 per hour and 20 hours per week for 12 weeks will be subsidized per intern.
The bill was released by the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee.