Project Onramp Philadelphia to Address Disparities in Paid Internships and Open Doors for Local Students
New program calls upon life sciences companies to help bridge opportunity gap for low-income, first-generation collegians
PHILADELPHIA (February 16, 2021) — Today, Life Science Cares Philadelphia in partnership with Philadelphia Futures announced Project Onramp Philadelphia – a program designed to connect high-potential, economically disadvantaged Philadelphia college students with paid summer internships at life science companies.
In Philadelphia, the 2019 poverty rate reached 23.3%, making the need for full-time employment imperative. Many companies offer valuable internship opportunities, which are often a path to full-time employment and higher starting salaries, but there are widening disparities among students who work at unpaid versus paid internships based on race, gender and parents’ education. In fact, research shows that students of color are more likely to hold unpaid internships than their white peers and more than 25% of first-generation college students have never held an internship at all. Project Onramp helps bridge that opportunity gap by creating paid summer internships at life science companies in the Greater Philadelphia region.
“As the biotech industry in Greater Philadelphia continues to boom, Project Onramp will break down barriers that have historically excluded many deserving students while building a more diverse pipeline of talent in our community,” said Pete Wolf, Executive Director of Life Science Cares Philadelphia. “We couldn’t be prouder to partner with Philadelphia Futures, who will provide our Life Science Scholars with one-on-one support every step of the way as they participate in what could be a life-changing summer experience.”
In its first summer, Project Onramp and leading life science companies are collectively targeting 25 to 30 internship positions for the Life Science Scholars Program. Internships are not limited to STEM-related, high science roles; business disciplines, including human resources, finance, marketing, and administrative roles, will also be available. Other than paying an intern’s salary, there is no fee associated with being part of Project Onramp.
“Philadelphia Futures has a long track record of supporting low-income, first-generation-to-college students and we know the powerful difference a paid internship can make for these students, as well as the value these students can bring to their host companies,” said Sara Woods, President and CEO, Philadelphia Futures. “It’s inspiring to see Greater Philadelphia life science companies partnering with the community to provide a pathway for talented students to learn about and succeed in careers in the life sciences.”
Project Onramp Philadelphia is made possible by funding from the Life Science Cares Philadelphia board and board of advisors as well as donations from members of Life Sciences Pennsylvania. For more information about Project Onramp and ways to get involved, visit projectonrampphl.com.
About Life Science Cares Philadelphia
Life Science Cares Philadelphia is a collective effort of the Life Science industry to reduce the impact of poverty on our neighbors in the greater Philadelphia area. Through uniting the human and financial resources of Life Science companies and industry leaders, we support service organizations that do the best work in fighting poverty in our communities. Started in Boston in 2017, Life Science Cares expanded to Philadelphia in December 2019.
About Philadelphia Futures
Philadelphia Futures envisions a city where every student has what they need to succeed in college and thrive in life. Through its direct service programs, Sponsor-a-Scholar (SAS) and College Connection, the organization annually provides over 600 high school and college students with academic enrichment, personalized college guidance, college success services, and financial resources. Through its Outreach and Engagement services, including its Step Up to College Guide, Outreach Futures initiative, and the Charles E. Ellis Trust for Girls, Philadelphia Futures provides college guidance and financial resources to students in the Greater Philadelphia area and beyond. Philadelphia Futures can be found online at www.philadelphiafutures.org, on Instagram (@phillyfutures), Twitter (@phillyfutures), Facebook, and LinkedIn.