New Jersey has launched a new program to increase the number of paid internships at companies large and small across the Garden State.

“We believe strongly that college students and high school students can benefit by getting paid work experience that really compliments their education,” said Aaron Fichtner, the acting commissioner of the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

“Our department is investing $1.5 million to help employers to bring on more paid interns, not just this summer, but throughout the school year.”

Fichtner explained the Many Paths, One Future Internship Grant program will reimburse 50 percent of wages paid to interns, up to $1,500.

“We believe that will help some employers, many employers we hope, bring on more interns this summer and during the school year.”

He stressed the program will benefit all parties involved.

“Obviously, there’s a huge benefit to the students to get work experience, paid work experience, to let them learn about work, let them learn about careers, put something on their resume, get valuable work skills, but employers will benefit as well,” he said.

“They get a chance to see some young people in action and maybe hire them. We hope that many of the interns will get hired for full time jobs when they finish school.”

“It helps us build a skilled workforce for New Jersey to continue to be competitive.”

Fichtner said companies across a wide range of industries will take advantage of the program but the focus will be attracting businesses from eight key industries that drive the state’s economy:  advanced manufacturing; construction and utilities; financial services; health care; life sciences; retail; hospitality and tourism; and transportation, logistics and distribution.

“We’re expecting that this program will support about a thousand interns,” he said.

If students want to learn more about the program, Fichtner suggests they contact their career placement or guidance counselor.

High schools and colleges interested in participating in this partnership should contact