This MDRC issue focus provides a brief overview of the CRI program in the context of recent research on internships and a snapshot of early findings from the study.

One recently created internship program is exploring how to address challenges with work-based learning, such as internships and apprenticeship programs, to help students build workforce skills and experience and gain real-world exposure to a career in the field of their interest. In 2015, Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation (Great Lakes) awarded $12.2 million to selected four-year colleges in Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin to develop semester-long paid internships for college juniors and seniors with financial needs. In 2016, MDRC began researching the implementation, scaling, and sustainability of the Career Ready Internship (CRI) program, as well as employers’, students’, and colleges’ experiences with the program. The research team has disseminated two surveys — one to student participants and another to employers — and is examining multiple years of program data as well as progress reports that colleges submitted to Great Lakes.