Clean Energy Summer Interns Returning to Classes or the Job Search

It’s mid-August, and that means that summer interns from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s (MassCEC) award-winning program are wrapping up their projects. Some will be heading back to the classroom and others will be moving into the workforce.  Many will receive job offers directly from their internship employers.

Each year, NECEC examines data about these summer interns to better understand the Commonwealth’s clean energy workforce pipeline.  What fields of study are most “in demand”?  Which colleges are companies turning to for new employees?  How many clean energy employers are building relationships with the state’s education and training institutions?

In 2017, MassCEC reports that 282 summer interns were placed at 166 different Massachusetts clean energy employers, overwhelmingly private sector firms. A complete list of this summer’s employer hosts is at the end of this post.

NECEC sponsors summer interns from the MassCEC program and other initiatives. This year’s outstanding group included: Amaryllis Vega (UMass Lowell), Jacob Shuman (Williams College), Smeet Udeshi (NYU), Rishabh Sardana (Northeastern), Kelsey Smithwood (Tufts).

Since the program first launched in 2011, MassCEC has reimbursed employers for stipends paid to 2,358 spring, summer and fall clean energy interns.

UMass Amherst and Northeastern University most popular with employers

The 2017 summer interns came from 47 different Massachusetts universities, colleges and community colleges, and from a collection of out-of-state colleges as well.  This summer’s top ten (with the number of interns selected) included:

  1. UMass Amherst 33
  2. Northeastern 28
  3. UMass Lowell 21
  4. Boston University 20
  5. Tufts University 19
  6. MIT 14
  7. Harvard 13
  8. WPI 12
  9. Bunker Hill Community College 6
  10. Boston College  5
  11. Bentley College  5

Employers also selected interns from Assumption, Babson, Boston Architectural College, Brandeis, Bridgewater State, Clark, Holy Cross, Emerson, Endicott, Framingham State, Olin College of Engineering, Greenfield Community College, Lesley, Mass Bay Community College, Mass College of Art, Mass College of Liberal Arts, Mass Maritime, Massasoit Community College, Merrimack, Middlesex Community College, Mount Holyoke, North Shore Community College, Northern Essex Community College, Quinsigamond Community College, Roxbury Community College, Smith, Stonehill, Suffolk, UMass Boston, UMass Dartmouth, Wentworth, Western New England, Westfield State, Wheaton, and Worcester State.

Engineering and Business fields topped the list of “in demand” majors

Students often ask us which college majors are the best paths to a good job in the clean energy industry.  If this year’s summer intern class is any indication, the answer is clear: engineering and business.  63% of the interns selected by Massachusetts clean energy employers came from those two professional communities.

Of the 105 aspiring engineers working this summer (37% of the total intern class), the largest groups were mechanical (33 interns) and chemical (20) engineering students.  Other engineering fields represented (in order) were civil, energy, electrical, computer, materials, industrial, and environmental.

Employers selected 72 interns (26 percent of the total) from a range of business related fields, including economics, marketing, management, finance, and more.   

Only three major fields of study were represented by more than 10 interns this summer, including 23 students from the natural sciences, 12 aspiring architects, and 10 students  pursuing degrees in computer science.

As in previous years, the majority of the state’s clean energy companies selected undergraduate students and recent graduates for their summer internships. Sixty-five percent of the 2017 summer class had received or were pursuing bachelor’s degrees, while 27 percent were at the master’s or doctoral level, and only eight percent were associate degree holders or candidates.

Gearing up for the fall internship season

The MassCEC clean energy internship program operates year-round, not just in the summer. Enrollment for the fall session open now for interested clean energy employers and students. For more information, visit www.masscec.com/intern.  

Want to know more about the many colleges, universities, community colleges and vocational schools in Massachusetts that have clean energy programs and classes?  Find all of them described and linked at the Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry Education and Training Directory website at www.cleanenergyeducation.org.

Congratulations and thank you to the 2017 summer intern employer hosts!

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Kevin Doyle

Kevin is Principal of Green Economy and Co-Chair of the Clean Energy Council's Workforce Development Group.