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Summer Student Internship Aims to Solve COVID-19 Problems

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Students in the "Creativity for COVID-19" internship program can earn a microcredential in problem-solving this summer. (Adobe stock)
Students in the "Creativity for COVID-19" internship program can earn a microcredential in problem-solving this summer. (Adobe stock)
June 23, 2020

ARLINGTON, Va. -- While many summer internships and jobs for students have been canceled because of COVID-19 shutdowns, one nonprofit has launched a six-week paid remote program that offers Washington, D.C., high school students hands-on work experience as problem-solving consultants.

The Education Design Lab has enrolled more than 100 students to participate in virtual work challenges that help businesses struggling to deal with the pandemic.

Don Fraser works with the lab and said the initiative helps underserved students facing uncertainty around education and career plans during the COVID-19 crisis.

He said one student group is helping the National Center for Behavioral Health improve brand awareness for teens struggling to find mental-health resources during the pandemic.

"We have organizations like this saying, 'There's a big moment here that we have to address and we need to be at the forefront of this, but we don't have capacity to actually come up with solutions,'" Fraser said. "So, using young folks to help them think about those solutions is something that they're very excited to take on."

Students will present their results to each organization and earn a micro-credential for creative problem solving. For more information, visit the Education Design Lab website at eddesignlab.org.

Fraser said students will get formal training in how to be artful problem solvers while they work on each business issue. He said another group of students is tackling how to safely reopen a local tourist organization.

"They're talking about how might we rebuild D.C.'s hospitality and tourism industry post COVID-19 while ensuring it's an industry that's equitable for all," he said.

Almost a quarter of employers revoked internship offers this summer because of COVID-19, according to a recent survey.


Support for this reporting was made possible by Lumina Foundation.

Diane Bernard, Public News Service - VA