Community College Students Can Apply for Department of Energy Internships

The Department of Energy (DOE) opened up applications for its Community College Internships and Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships, which feature hands-on experience at national laboratories.
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  • The Department of Energy (DOE) is now accepting applications for its Community College Internships (CCI) program.
  • Applications will be open through 5 p.m. EDT Oct. 4.
  • The program features hands-on experience at top national labs.
  • The DOE is hosting application and experience workshops for both the CCI program and the Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships (SULI) program in August and September.

Community college students can now apply for a hands-on internship with the Department of Energy (DOE).

Applications for the DOE's Community College Internships (CCI) program, as well as the Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships (SULI) program, will be open through 5 p.m. EDT Oct. 4, according to a DOE press release.

The DOE is offering workshops on both the application process and the programs themselves:

  • The CCI application workshop will take place Aug. 2 from 3-4 p.m. EDT.
  • The SULI application workshop will be held Aug. 10 from 3-4 p.m. EDT.
  • An opportunities workshop focused on experiences at both programs will be held Sept. 6 from 2-3 p.m. EDT.

Students will "discover science and technology careers at the DOE national laboratories and gain the experience needed to transition from intern to employment" as part of both internship programs, according to the release.

A Growing Focus on Community College STEM

The CCI program encourages students to pursue technical careers through hands-on experiences at the DOE's laboratories, according to the program website.

There are a wide range of participating DOE labs and facilities taking part in the program across the country.

Students can investigate the nature of the universe at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory; focus on energy, national security, and the environment at the Idaho National Laboratory; or take on other projects at the numerous, internationally famous labs that are participating in the program.

Connecting community college students with high-level researchers reflects a growing focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education at two-year public schools.

Both federal and state officials have looked to community college to address widespread shortages in skilled technical trades. The Department of Defense announced STEM grants to college consortiums across the country last year and touted community colleges as key to improving access for underrepresented students in STEM fields.

"Two-year institutions and community colleges play a key role in educating, training, and transitioning students onto a path to a STEM career," Heidi Shyu, undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, said at the time. "These awardees are not only preparing students for careers in the defense sector, they are also building transition pathways to four-year degrees."

STEM collaborations are also happening between schools.

Texas A&M University and Tyler Junior College recently announced plans to open a joint engineering academy starting this fall, combining core courses at the two-year school with engineering courses from a powerhouse university.

"Texas A&M approached the College and laid out an innovative approach to this seamless pathway between our institutions — and in a high-demand field," Tyler Junior College President and CEO Juan E. Mejia said at the time. "This partnership will create even more success stories for our hard-working, deserving students, right here at home."