Rhode Island’s clean energy industry has seen significant employment growth, with an impressive 77% increase since 2014. However, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, employment across clean energy businesses declined by over 2,500 jobs—or 15.5 percent—between the last quarters of 2019 and 2020. Clean energy job losses represented about 4.5 percent of all jobs lost over the course of 2020. The economic aftermath of COVID-19 eliminated roughly four years of clean energy job growth, sending Rhode Island’s clean energy economy back to 2016 employment levels. As of the last quarter of 2020, there were 11,158 clean energy workers that dedicated all of their labor hours or work week to support clean energy goods and services. Despite this setback, Rhode Island’s clean energy labor market appears to be overcoming this hurdle by gradually adding back jobs in recent years.
The RI Clean Energy Internship Program is designed to help provide internship opportunities in clean energy careers. The program is also designed to provide students and employers with the tools to connect, and program staff will reimburse eligible employers for intern stipends.
The Spring 2023 Session will be accepting applications from September 19, 2022 through December 16, 2022.
To participate in the program, all of the following requirements must be met:
• Be an eligible clean energy company. For the purposes of this program, program staff defines a clean energy company as “an employer engaged in whole or in part in goods and services, or advanced and applied technologies that significantly reduce or eliminate the use of energy from non-renewable sources, including, but not limited to: energy efficiency; demand response; energy conservation and those technologies powered in whole or in part by the sun, wind, water, biomass, alcohol, wood, fuel cells,” and “any renewable, non-depletable or recyclable fuel.” Program staff in their sole discretion makes the determination of whether an applicant is considered a clean energy employer.
• Be registered to do business in Rhode Island.
• Provide adequate proof that your organization is able to pay your intern(s) and all associated costs associated with employment.
• Successfully demonstrate that your organization has a formal office in Rhode Island.
• Cannot be an academic or government entity.
Previously approved employers' online applications will be saved, and their account will be marked back to 'awaiting approval'. You will be able to use your existing login credentials and update any information previously provided. Please note that you will still have to submit new position(s) if marked as approved, and an updated W9 document should be uploaded (if applicable).
If you are a new employer, please follow the instructions below:
Step 1: Register for a new account here. Once created, log in and fill in all of the necessary information fields, and upload a financial capability and W9 document in PDF format. The financial capability document should provide adequete proof that your organization is able to pay your intern(s) and all other associated costs with employment, and describe the payroll system utilized. Please note that it is a requirement for interns to be paid on a W2 status in order for you to participate and be reimbursed through the program.
Step 2: Once your company has been approved for the program, you will be able to post up to two positions that will become visible on the Internship Board. Please note that if you are looking to fill two positions with the same job duties/title, you will still need to post two seperate internship positions.
Step 3: During the session's enrollment window, you will also be able to review all eligible student applicants, including their resumes, transcripts, cover letters, and preferred field of work by clicking on the "View Students" tab. Host Companies are able to contact any eligible applicant to set up an in-person or online interview. Interviews are not required, but are encouraged.
Step 4: Once you have selected your intern(s), you can choose to hire them on their portal and their application will not be able to be viewed by other clean energy companies. Program staff will respond to let you know whether or not the applicant has been approved for the position.
Step 4: After program staff have approved an intern(s), have them sign an offer letter. The offer letter must, at a minimum, state their name, expected start and end dates, how many hours per week they are expected to work, and wage/hour. You must submit these signed offer letters to program staff no later than the session’s deadline in order to have your funding reserved.
Step 5: Countersign the offer letter and return to program staff as soon as possible. This serves as your official agreement with the program for the session, and we will not provide reimbursement without it.
Step 6: Program staff will send a reimbursement package with instructions about 3-4 weeks before the reimbursement deadline.
In order to be reimbursed for the session, you will need:
Internship Program Highlights
Program staff will reserve funding for interns to participate in the Clean Energy Internship program. We will not place additional interns once the sessions submission deadline has passed.
Interns are not permitted to enter into non-compete agreements with employers. Any employer found executing a non-compete agreement with a subsidized intern will result in the inability to receive reimbursement through the Clean Energy Internship Program. A confidentiality agreement is, however, permissible.
Important Internship Program Dates
- September 19, 2022 - Student and Host Company applications open.
- December 16, 2022 - Student intern and Host Company applications due.
- January 6, 2023 - Student intern and Host Company selections complete.
- January 20, 2023 - Deadline for employers to send signed offer letter submissions to program staff. We will not provide funding for offer letters submitted after this date.
- January 23, 2023 - Spring '23 session begins.
- April 28, 2023 - Spring '23 session ends.
- May 12, 2023 - Deadline for Spring '23 session reimbursement packages. We will not accept any reimbursement packages past this date.
Note: The Spring session dates from January 23, 2023 - April 28, 2023 are comprised of a 14-week time period. When accepting a position, you and the intern(s) agree upon a start date for the 12-week internship period during this timeframe.
Internship Program Participation Steps
1. Register to participate by creating an account and completing the online application. You will also need to upload required documentation including the financial capability and W9 document.
2. Once you have submitted your application and have been approved, you will be able to post an internship job description on the Internship Board. You will also be able to review all eligible student applicants, including their resumes, transcripts, cover letters, and preferred field of work. Host Companies are able to contact any eligible applicant to set up an in-person or online interview. Companies are required to interview 3 candidates for 1 position, or 5 candidates if filling 2 positions.
3. Once you have selected an intern, have the student sign an offer letter for the upcoming session. The offer letter should at a minimum state the student’s name, expected date range to be worked, and wage/hour. You must submit your signed offer letters no later than the session deadline of January 20, 2023. Program staff will not place any additional interns past this date. Only after your signed offer letter has been received by staff will we be able to officially reserve your funding for the session.
4. Sign and return your countersigned offer letter .
5. Submit your Reimbursement Package. You must submit your fully completed reimbursement packages before the session deadline of May 12, 2023. We will not provide any reimbursements for packages submitted past this date. Program staff reserve the right to deny reimbursement funding for a Host Company’s session if a complete reimbursement package is not received by the session’s reimbursement package submission deadline. We will provide you with reimbursement materials and instructions. Please fill out these materials and send back to program staff.
In order to be reimbursed, we will need:
The summer of 2019 marked the launch of the Rhode Island Clean Energy Summer Internship Program. A collaboration between the RI Office of Energy Resources (OER) and the Renewable Energy Fund (REF), this program matches college student applicants or recent graduates with clean energy host companies around Rhode Island for a twelve-week, paid internship. In keeping with the vested interest in expanding the State’s clean energy workforce, this internship program was created with the goal of getting students interested in the clean energy industry, with the intent of sparking a lifelong interest in a clean energy career.
Due to its success, the program was expanded in 2021 to include spring, summer and fall sessions. Since its inception in the summer of 2019, the Rhode Island Clean Energy Internship Program has placed over 40 students and recent graduates at clean energy companies across Rhode Island, with many of those interns going on to receive full or part-time job opportunities at their host companies.
Key Metrics and Results:
Since its launch in 2019, the program has placed nearly 50 interns at 21 different companies, with some receiving full or part-time jobs at their host companies as a result of their internship. For an overview of metrics for the program, please refer to the RI Clean Energy Internship Program Infographic.
Contact Information: Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (RI OER)