Rhode Island Clean Energy Internship Program

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. Students will be able to professionally develop under the mentorship of an industry partner to combat real world problems in energy and the environment.

The Spring 2023 Session will be accepting applications from September 19, 2022 through December 16, 2022.

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Who's Eligible?

Students will be required to meet the following eligibility requirements:

  1. Students need to demonstrate that they are currently enrolled at a college or university located in Rhode Island, or if the college or university is located outside of Rhode Island, can demonstrate proof of residency.
  2. Students must have completed or will complete at least their freshman year of college (24 credits) the semester before the internship.
  3. If a student attends a community college (or 2-year associate program) the student must have completed at least 24 credits.
  4. Graduate students must be currently enrolled in a master’s degree program or have graduated within one year of applying.

Certain individuals are not eligible to participate in the program:

  1. Law School students, Ph. D. candidates, or students who have been previously enrolled or matriculated in a Ph.D. program, are not eligible to participate in the program.
  2. Full or part-time employees, both those who have received compensation as well as volunteers, are not eligible to participate in this program at their current employers.
  3. Any full-time employee or existing intern that has been on payroll for greater than 12 weeks at a Host Company or has been continuously working at the Host Employer since their last participating session.

How do I Apply?

To apply for the Clean Energy Internship Program, please follow the instructions below:

Step 1: Create an account and choose a password for your account. Once created, login to fill out the online application and upload all required documentation including a current unofficial transcript, one-page resume and cover letter. These documents should be uploaded in PDF format, if possible. Once approved by program staff, you will be visible to eligible employers. They may contact you for a phone or virtual interview, however, this is not required.

Step 2: The Internships Board will be visible to view any available internships. You can search which internship you are interested in by job type, position location and sector. Reach out to employers you would like to intern with and promptly respond to any employer communications you receive. Proactive students, by far, are the most likely to be placed into internships with host employers. 

Step 3: If the employer wishes to take you on for the session, they will choose to hire you on the portal, so your application will not be seen by other companies. They will then send you an offer letter to sign. You must return your signed offer letter to your employer, who will then submit it to the program staff no later than the session deadline in order to have your funding reserved.


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 submission deadline has passed. Be sure to make yourself aware of the important program deadlines, found below.

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 Fall internship dates from January 23, 2023 - April 28, 2023 are comprised of a 14-week time period. When accepting a position, you and the employer 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 a current unofficial transcript, cover letter and resume.
  2. Once you are approved, respond to any employer communications you may receive and reach out to any employers you are interested in working for by viewing the Internships Board.
  3. If an employer wishes to take you on for the session, they will send you an offer letter for you to sign. The offer letter must include your name, expected date range to be worked, and wage/hour. You must return your signed offer letter to your employer, who will then submit it to REF no later than the session deadline of January 20, 2023. Program staff will not approve placement of any interns past this date.
  4. Only after your signed offer letter has been received by program staff will we be able to officially reserve your funding for the session.
  5. Please ensure information on the offer letter is accurate and you are not being asked to sign a non-compete agreement.
  6. Enjoy your Internship! Be sure to take advantage of this opportunity by learning valuable skills on the job and by networking with others in the industry.
  7. Fill out the student survey – We will provide you with a link to the student survey before the conclusion of the session. Please fill out the form, as it greatly assists in administering this program and making it as successful as possible. The information submitted on this survey is anonymous, and we do not ask for any identifying information.

Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions Document for any additional questions.

Program Background

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.

Program Results

Key Goals:

  • Gain significant career opportunities in a challenging work environment
  • Support the need for greater diversity in our workforce
  • Develop useful skills by participating in projects, gathering and analyzing data, developing communication materials, and much more!

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.

Program Contact

Contact Information: Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (RI OER)