About The COVID-19 Innovation Challenge

Skills For Rhode Island's Future (SkillsRI) has launched an entirely reimagined PrepareRI summer internship program that brings together high school and college interns from across Rhode Island for a real-world view into the evolving work landscape. The COVID-19 Innovation Challenge is a paid, virtual internship experience that will challenge interns to form their own student-run corporations, collaborate with remote teams and think critically to build viable solutions that will address the real-world challenges companies and industries are facing as a result of COVID-19.

Throughout the fast-paced seven-week competition, interns will enjoy deep dives and skill-building across a myriad of career-focused topics, completing challenges and sprints along the way as they collaborate, prototype and test solutions with the guidance and support of their team, mentors, coaches and industry experts.

Work-based learning meets organizational strategy and gamification as each corporation balances a real budget, elects a leadership team for the boardroom, tests real solutions to real workforce problems, and culminates in a Shark Tank-style pitch competition! Student-run corporations will present their solutions to a panel of industry expert judges for the chance to win scholarships to put towards their future endeavors!

PrepareRI is brought to Rhode Island students thanks to the funding support of the Governor’s Workforce Board (GWB) and American Student Assistance (ASA).

About the PrepareRI High School Internship Program

The PrepareRI Internship Program is a “work-based learning experience” for public high school students who have completed their junior year in high school and are planning for college or a career upon graduation from high school. Research suggests work-based learning helps student link learning with classroom instruction, leads to high graduation rates, gives students ownership of their learning and career exploration and helps students develop critical soft skills.

The PrepareRI Internship Program provides students opportunities to explore careers via workplace learning experiences through paid summer internships. It represents a strategic partnership between the Rhode Island government, private industry leaders, the public education system, universities, and non-profits across the state.

Launched and 2016, the high school internship program has pivoted to a virtual internship model for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

About Skills for Rhode Island’s Future

Skills for Rhode Island’s Future (SkillsRI) is a nonprofit organization that breaks down barriers to economic opportunity by connecting unemployed and underemployed Rhode Islanders to jobs with socially responsible, civic-minded employers.

SkillsRI was selected by the Rhode Island Governor’s Workforce Board to serve as the statewide career intermediary to develop and administer the PrepareRI Internship Program, which creates meaningful and rigorous work-based learning opportunities for public high school students in Rhode Island to learn and apply academic, technical, and professional skills and experience to the world of work. SkillsRI will also serve as the single point of contact for employers, schools, students and parents/guardians.