(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Craig J. Coughlin, Pamela R. Lampitt, Cleopatra Tucker and Daniel R. Benson to review the merits of providing tax credits to employers who hire college students for internships as a way to increase the students’ potential for long-term employment received final legislative approval Thursday and now heads to the governor’s desk.
A former version of the bill, which was approved by both houses, would have given tax credits to employers who hire college students for internships, but it was conditionally vetoed by the governor. The current version adapts the recommendations made by the governor.
“I believe that making these tax credits available to employers could help create long-term positions. Sometimes all it takes is getting your foot in the door and internships do that. Giving interns a small pay could also allow students who might not be able to afford things like transportation to take an internship they would not be able to take otherwise,” said Coughlin (D-Middlesex). “It would have been ideal to provide college graduates with this opportunity sooner than later, but I understand the concerns raised by the governor. This new version of the bill takes his recommendations to look into whether there is indeed a link between the two.”
The bill (A-1271) requires the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development to review a corporation tax credit and gross income tax credit program for paid internships, as it pertains to increasing long-term employment for future college graduates, and report any findings and recommendations to the governor no later than 12 months from the date of its enactment.
“Internships are one of the best ways to prepare our young people for the workforce and beyond. Many start their professional careers as interns. If giving companies tax credits to create paid internships can help our college graduates land permanent positions and avoid getting stuck in unemployment purgatory, then we should consider it,” said Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington).
“Creating jobs, no matter how many, must be our number one priority. In a market as tight as this one, young people need every advantage possible to help break into their chosen field,” said Tucker (D-Essex). “The potential benefits that these tax credits may be able to provide for college graduates as well as businesses in the state merit further exploration.”
“Many careers began with an internship. Tax credits are a great incentive for businesses to provide internship opportunities that later turn into permanent employment,” said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “Any program that has the potential to give young people work experience and create jobs should be evaluated.”
The bill was approved 66-12 by the Assembly on May 20 and 38-1 by the Senate on Thursday.