SummerWorks Program Overview
This paid summer internship program targets youth from diverse backgrounds who are ages 16-24 with little or no work history. The primary goal is to prepare youth for the workforce by providing them access to free work readiness training and then placing them into entry and mid-level internship opportunities that will improve their individual skills for future jobs.

  • Candidates complete work readiness training before they are matched to internships
  • The SummerWorks program operator collects all employment documents and manages payroll
  • SummerWorks coaches assist in the internship placement and work with the youth and the worksite to make appropriate placements
  • SummerWorks coaches assist the intern and the worksite supervisor to develop the internship training plan and objectives
  • SummerWorks coaches support worksite supervisors if concerns arise
  • Interns receive one-on-one coaching assistance during the internship
  • Interns generally work about 180 hours over the summer, averaging 20-30 hours/week
  • Interns earn at least the Oregon minimum wage for the Portland Metropolitan Area
  • Interns can earn .5 high school credit by completing a SummerWorks portfolio

Program Funding
SummerWorks is a program of Worksystems. Worksystems is a local non-profit that coordinates a regional workforce system of employers, labor groups, government, community colleges, high schools, community-based and economic development organizations to deliver workforce development programs that help people get the skills, training and education they need to go to work or advance in their careers.

The SummerWorks program is funded by multiple sources. From federal, state and local grant funding to public and private business intern sponsorship, Worksystems raises funds year-round to support and expand this program.

Not only do these funds pay for intern wages, but they also pay for SummerWorks coaches to support interns during the program; they pay for other supportive resources, like transportation assistance, workplace clothing, tools and supplies; and they pay the fees and taxes associated with wages and payroll processing.

The Value of SummerWorks
Everyone benefits from SummerWorks! We believe the most important quality of this SummerWorks internship program is the experience youth get from real-world work experience. Meanwhile employers get access to an emerging workforce talent pool and get an opportunity to help shape our future workforce while solving a need of their community.

Convenient & Cost Effective
  • Recruiting and outreach has become a community effort. This is an established and well-known program where hundreds of potential interns are referred annually.
  • Program staff prepare candidates for the workplace by facilitating work readiness training, screening and matching candidates to appropriate positions, providing transportation and other resources, and by supporting interns & worksite supervisors during the internship.
  • All payroll, taxes and other employer-of-record responsibilities are managed by the SummerWorks program.

Interns Increase Business Productivity
  • Interns can help your business address a backlog of work.
  • Interns can work on special projects or free-up other staff to work on a special project that are sometimes difficult to prioritize.

Prepares Young Adults for Our Future
  • There is no classroom substitute for the real-world experience.
  • Work experience provides interns an opportunity to explore workplaces and acquire workplace skills, while earning a paycheck.

SummerWorks depends on businesses and organizations. Sponsors are needed to place the hundreds of Portland Metro youth that register annually.

Become a Sponsor
For less than $3,500 an organization can cover all costs of an intern. Sponsors will provide a meaningful internship opportunity that is properly supervised. Interns are tasked with appropriate duties that they will perform throughout the duration of the internship period. To sponsor one or more interns, you will enter into the following agreements:

Sponsorship Agreement: This is an agreement with Worksystems and allows your business to be billed for the number of interns you agree to sponsor.

Worksite Agreement: This is an agreement with the SummerWorks program operator and ensures the business will provide a safe work environment that is properly supervised, and the position will be appropriate and meaningful.

If you would like to sponsor a SummerWorks intern or you would like to learn more about sponsorship, please submit an interest form. Worksystems will help to get you started.

If you or your organization cannot sponsor an intern but would like to donate to help Worksystems fund SummerWorks, please submit an Interest Form. Worksystems will help to facilitate that transaction.

What Sponsors Can Expect
Following your agreement to become a SummerWorks sponsor, your organization will be assigned a SummerWorks coach. This coach will help match qualified candidates to your internship positions.

The worksite supervisor, SummerWorks coach and intern will meet to develop a training plan where the schedule is determined, job duties outlined, and learning objectives defined.

During the internship, the SummerWorks coach will check in with to support the intern’s success.

Following the internship, we ask that worksite supervisors complete a satisfaction survey so we can help to improve our programs.
Hire Employees instead of Interns
If your organization is more interested in hiring youth, but still wants to find youth that have completed work readiness training and are ready for entry level, temporary or permanent, employment opportunities in the Portland Metro area, then Connect2Careers may be another solution for you!