Student internships could soon benefit employers in Mid-Missouri

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COLUMBIA - Businesses who deal with science, technology, engineering and mathematics could potentially apply to the Department of Higher Education to have five thousand dollars of their state tax liability transferred to a new fund.

A bill discussed Wednesday would establish the Economic-Education Partnership Act. It would allow any taxpayer who hires a student majoring in one of the four academic fields to qualify for the transfer.

The individual hired must be attend a Missouri public or private, two or four year college. The person must also take part in the internship position for at least 12 weeks for at least 15 hours per week.

Local technician Kevin Chapins said he hopes the bill, if approved, will open up more internship experience for students in mid-Missouri.

"Having an internship means that it is a step for the student and for the businesses themselves," Chapins said. "Five thousand dollars can easily bring small benefits to small companies."

At Benton Elementary School, where the STEM program is very popular, this type of bill could open up many opportunities. STEM Specialist Heather McCular said she likes to give her students a hands-on experience to explore the subjects of math and science.

She said if the bill were to pass, there would be more chances for her students who want to become engineers, doctors or even scientists.

"I think anytime that a person is recruited or brought in for a specific reason, the motivation and willingness to work is going to be there," McCular said. "They will be able to see the relationship between their company and what they are doing grow."