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Applications Now Open for Participants and Host Sites of Internship Program for Underserved Youth

Through the Intern & Earn program, the County of Santa Clara offers paid, meaningful work experiences for young adults

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF.— Applications are now open for a County of Santa Clara program that connects underserved youth with paid internship opportunities, kicking off its sixth year with more than triple the capacity since inception. The Intern & Earn program, which piloted in 2016 with approximately 175 young people, can place 550 interns this year in meaningful work that contributes to their community and jumpstarts their career interests.

While the hosting organization operates as the worksite, the County provides support through the entire process and serves as the employer on record, pays the wages, and provides workers compensation insurance. Through the program, more than 1,300 interns have earned nearly $3.8 million dollars while working with hundreds of employer sites.

“Some are foster youth and others are first-generation immigrants who have not experienced the same social advantages as their peers,” said Chief Operating Officer Miguel Márquez, J.D. “It is inspiring to see them. Many of them have faced tremendous adversity and use these resources to start building successful careers for themselves. This is how we break cycles and create a more equitable community.”

Alyssa Beltran sitting in a chair
Alyssa Beltran, a former foster youth and participant of the Intern & Earn program, said the paid internships provided her with career growth and a support system

Alyssa Beltran, a former foster youth, was 19 and a freshman at San José State University when the program placed her with a County Supervisor’s office for her first internship. After a summer of brown bag lunches with elected officials, medical leaders, lawyers, and social service workers, she returned for a second cohort and is now in a third internship with the County where she helps to evaluate and research other youth’s experiences.

As she nears graduation in a few months, Beltran now has a bevy of connections and job skills to lean on as she eyes a career focused on social justice for foster youth.

“I want to make an impact on others who have gone through what I’ve gone through and show other youth they can be more than their background,” she said. “Going through the foster care system, I never had a community where I could feel supported. This program has given me the opportunity to build deep relationships and opened my eyes to so many possibilities.”

Over the past several years, staff at the County of Santa Clara Social Services Agency have seen the success and value of the Intern & Earn opportunities and worked to enhance the program through added eligible populations and work sites, lengthened internship placements, and increased pay. Interns are placed in one of more than 250 worksites that closely align with their career interests, and they receive ongoing guidance and coaching from employment counselors.

“This is a high priority program for us because we realize how critical it is for youth who often don’t have social or professional support to jumpstart their careers,” said Angela Shing, Director of Employment and Benefits Services for the County of Santa Clara Social Services Agency. “It is extremely rewarding to see these highly motivated and talented young people find the right connection and early footing to achieve their goals.”

The County encourages eligible youth to apply by April 20. Organizations interested in the cause can apply as hosts for the summer program by May 6.

Program Basics

  • Paid internships are for youth active on CalWORKs (ages 16-18), CalFresh (ages 16-21), or current/former foster youth (ages 16-24)
  • Placements are with various County sites, community-based organizations, non-profits, or private organizations
  • Each placement runs for eight weeks, up to 30 hours per week, with a pay rate of $17.50 per hour
  • There are multiple cohorts per year; next cohort is this summer from June 20 to August 12, 2022

How to participate

Eligible youth looking for a paid internship this summer can contact the Intern & Earn program at (408) 758-3797 to speak to an employment counselor and begin the application process, or visit and click on the “Intern & Earn” tile. Applications are due by April 20, 2022. Organizations interested in hosting this summer can call the same number and ask to speak to an Employer Relations Specialist by May 6, 2022.


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The County of Santa Clara government serves a diverse, multi-cultural population of 1.9 million residents in Santa Clara County, California, making it more populous than 14 states in the U.S. The County provides essential services to its residents, including public health protection, environmental stewardship, medical services through the County of Santa Clara Health System, child and adult protection services, homelessness prevention and solutions, roads, park services, libraries, emergency response to disasters, protection of minority communities and those under threat, access to a fair criminal justice system, and many other public benefits.

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Media Contact: Laurel Anderson / Quan Vu,  Office of Communications and Public Affairs, (408) 299-5119, [email protected]

Posted: March 30, 2022