Why this state program funds internships to keep tech talent in Maryland - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Feb. 28, 2019 11:36 am

Why this state program funds internships to keep tech talent in Maryland

Think your biz can’t afford an intern? MTIP subsidizes technical internship programs for Maryland-based companies.
Interns can be a valuable addition to a company’s team.

Interns can be a valuable addition to a company's team.

(Technical.ly file photo)

Come college graduation season, it can be a challenge to keep promising tech talent in state when the magnetic pull of tech hot spots like Silicon Valley and NYC lures them away.

But if they have a job offer from a local company they already know, tech grads are more likely to stay nearby.

The Maryland Technology Internship Program (MTIP) is a state initiative, administered by University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), created for the very purpose of keeping tech talent in Maryland. It does so by providing funding for employers to offer technology-based internships. In turn, these internships raise awareness of all the technical opportunities that exist for students right in their backyard.

Building a talent pipeline can be a massive undertaking for any city or state. MTIP is essentially providing the infrastructure to get the pipeline built and the management to keep it flowing.

Through funding, MTIP breaks down a myriad of barriers stopping companies from attracting and retaining tech talent. For instance, some organizations simply haven’t found the bandwidth to build out an internship program. In this case, MTIP offers employers guidance, such as internship best practices and resources to build and grow a successful program.

In other cases, smaller companies may find it difficult to compete with bigger fish in terms of their ability to compensate interns. MTIP enables companies to either offer payment or increase their hourly rate by reimbursing employers 50 percent of interns’ wages (up to $1,800 per intern).

Although its core focus is incentivizing Maryland-based employers to increase internship opportunities throughout the state, MTIP also exposes students to a wide variety of technical careers and the local companies that offer them.

“When you think about tech, you may think coding or cybersecurity. But the students in our program are also getting degrees in life sciences, engineering, information systems, graphic design and augmented reality,” said Annie Weinschenk, assistant director of MTIP. “There are many tech career opportunities in Maryland, and part of this bill is about uncovering them. Every business relies on technology these days, from social media to e-commerce to data science and cyber security. This is a great opportunity to help Maryland employers retain tech talent in the state.”

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Students are given hands-on experience and the ability to explore career options, employers reap the rewards of fresh, ambitious technical minds working on their products and services, and the state of Maryland locks in valuable talent that will help grow its economy.

“Participating was actually a no brainer because there’s no down side. That’s rare,” said CEO and founder of VR/AR startup Balti Virtual, Will Gee, who has taken advantage of the internship subsidy program since late 2018.

“We’re trying to put students into roles that could turn into paying jobs down the road,” he said. “The program has been tremendously valuable for us because we’re getting the benefits of the students’ hard work. And, it benefits them because they are getting experience working in various roles at a growing software company.”

Administered by UMBC and funded by the State of Maryland, MTIP provides employers with the funding to hire students or recent alums of any two- or four-year colleges and universities in Maryland.

“There is a largely untapped talent pool in the greater Baltimore area, and a wide reservoir of opportunity. [MTIP] is a very important program that has helped us leverage these resources. We feel very grateful for it,” said Frank Chen, managing director at biotech company LINKSciences.

Maryland employers interested in creating or expanding their internship program can apply for funding through MTIP below:

Apply here

Also, you can chat up the MTIP team on Thursday, March 14, at Technical.ly’s annual NET/WORK Baltimore career fair.

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