Expanding Student Internship Programs in Berks County School Districts

Posted on Categories Business, Community, Workforce Engagement, Career Information and Exploration, College and Career Pathways, Work-based learning

At a Glance

The Berks Business Education Coalition supports and promotes career education initiatives in Berks County schools.


In 1992, Berks County business leaders formed the Berks Business Education Coalition (BBEC) to develop and support promising initiatives in Berks County schools. The coalition determined that a primary focus should be career education, a focus that continues today as it supports and coordinates a number of career awareness and development programs each year.

In April 2015, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry awarded Business Education Partnership Grant funds to the Berks County Workforce Development Board (WDB) to support the BBEC’s Students Engaged in the Workforce Initiative. Forty-five thousand dollars was designated for the expansion of work-based internship opportunities in area high school students.

Results / Impact

Between July 2015 and June 2016, the Students Engaged in the Workplace Initiative exceeded expectations. Over the course of the school year, the BBEC recruited, supported, and funded seven of the county’s 18 school districts to develop active high school internship programs that are now in place and operating. Some of these new programs were able to place a limited number of work-based internships in 2015-16, but with strong programs now in place at nine area school districts (including two that were in place prior this project) the real results will become apparent in the 2016-17 school year. School district partners project that a minimum of 150 high school juniors and seniors will participate in 2016-17, more than double the number of opportunities prior to the project. 

Now that the BBEC has widely demonstrated that work-based internships for high school students are a best practice and welcome opportunity, the remaining 10 area school districts have indicated interest in joining the coalition. Coalition leaders project that at least 12 of 18 local school districts will offer structured internship programs by the 2018-19 school year with more than 300 students participating annually.


Berks Business Education Coalition

Solomon Lausch, Ph.D., Executive Director
Email: slausch@berksbec.org