Application period open for state government summer mentorship program

Published 10:28 am Friday, January 21, 2022

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Fifteen high school sophomore and junior girls interested in science, technology, engineering and math will have the opportunity to participate in a five-week paid internship with North Carolina state government leaders this summer.

Established in 2019 by the NC Department of Administration’s Council for Women and Youth Involvement, the Lady Cardinal Mentorship Program seeks to improve gender inequity by providing college bound girls an opportunity to explore STEM-based careers within state government, according to a press release from the North Carolina Department of Administration.

“The gender wage gap is an ongoing disparity not only within North Carolina but around the country,” said Administration Secretary Pamela B. Cashwell. “Preparing our state’s best and brightest in high-growth and high-earning fields such as STEM careers will help women and more families achieve economic security, reduce poverty and grow the state’s economy.”

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Interested students can apply for the Lady Cardinal Mentorship Program now through Feb. 28. Program and application information can be found on the NCDOA website at Candidate interviews will occur in mid-March and selected applicants will be notified of placement in April. The mentorship will run weekdays June 29 through August 5.

All mentees are expected to work 40 hours each week with 24 hours spent working side-by-side with women leaders and the remainder working with other mentees on a group project. The summer enrichment opportunity also includes lunch and learn sessions and field trips to various state government agencies. Students will earn a $2,100 stipend at the end of the program. Based in Raleigh, the program offers housing options for mentees living outside of the immediate Raleigh-Durham area.

Participating state agencies include the departments of Administration, Commerce, Health and Human Services, Information Technology, Public Safety, Revenue, Transportation and the Office of State Human Resources.

“The Lady Cardinal Mentorship Program was created based on recommendations from the 2018 Status of Women in NC Employment and Earnings Report released by the Council for Women and Youth Involvement in collaboration with the Institute for Women’s Policy Research,” stated the release. “The report highlights the growing disparity in employment and earnings among women and men in North Carolina. If unchanged, the gender wage gap will not begin to close until year 2060. The report also underscores Governor Roy Cooper’s NC Job Ready Initiative, which advocates for more internships, training and apprenticeships to prepare North Carolinians for the jobs of today and tomorrow.”

The inaugural Lady Cardinal Mentorship Program included nine local high school students, ranging from freshmen to seniors. Students shadowed leaders within North Carolina’s cabinet agencies and completed a research project based on Governor Cooper’s Executive Order No. 80 that addresses climate change and transition to a clean energy economy. The 2020 mentorships were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s program was expanded to include more mentees and new professional development opportunities.

Visit the NCDOA website to learn more about and apply for the Lady Cardinal Mentorship Program.