Begin Main Content Area

High School Internship Resources

HR liaisons, business partners, hiring managers, and supervisors all share an important role in creating a safe and supportive environment for students to learn more about commonwealth career opportunities. The following information and resources will help you learn more about the High School Internship Program and to ensure high school interns have a safe and rewarding experience with the commonwealth.


There are many benefits to partnering with a high school student to provide a work-based learning opportunity to help them explore their career field of interest. Some of these benefits include: 

  • Educating high school students about possible job opportunities with the commonwealth 
  • Attracting fresh talent to commonwealth agencies and connecting this talent directly to industry professionals
  • Providing safe and rewarding opportunities for high school students to help them better define career interests and goals, and to further develop their technical and professional skill sets

Program Dates

School calendars typically begin on July 1 and end on June 30. Employment of a Commonwealth High School Intern can begin any time during the school’s calendar year and should be completed by the end of the same calendar year on June 30. However, if a student is hired as a junior and will be continuing the internship during the senior year, no separation is necessary, and the internship can continue into the upcoming school year. The program cannot be used only as a summer placement/summer intern program. High school interns are expected to work through a majority of the school year.

Student Eligibility

  • High school junior- or senior-year status on first day of the internship
  • At least 16 years-of-age on the first day of the internship
  • Recommended by the school. Via Letter of Recommendation signed by school staff on school letterhead. (Student provides during online application process.)

Identifying a Supervisor

  • A supervisor of a high school intern must be willing and able to provide the student with a hands-on learning experience that combines practical application, observation, professional opportunities and mentorship. This includes providing regular, ongoing feedback on student development and career goals and providing a safe environment and space to learn and grow.
  • An intern supervisor should be someone who is passionate about working with students and able to serve as a mentor during the internship. The supervisor should volunteer and cannot be required to participate in the program, as participation is not a condition of employment.
  • Participating supervisors will not receive higher class/pay during the internship. 
  • The supervisor will be the primary point-of-contact between the student and school.
  • Must be willing to obtain three child clearances per PA Child Protective Services Law and High School Intern Management Directive 515.21Instructions and guidance will be provided during the internship job posting process.  Once obtained, the three clearances are valid for five years.

Classification & Pay

Restrictions for Minors (Students Under Age 18)

The student selected by a supervisor after interviews may be a minor. It is important to be prepared for the following legal restrictions identified in the state Child Labor Act. An intern’s work schedule should be discussed by the supervisor and the school’s internship coordinator when the student receives a formal offer of employment.

Working Hours

The Abstract of Hours Provisions must be posted in a conspicuous place with all other HR/legal postings in any work unit where high school interns will be employed.

Permitted work hours/durations for a minor:

  • Up to 28 hours per week during the school term
  • Up to 37.5/40 hours per week during school vacation/breaks
  • Cannot work between 12 Midnight and 6 a.m.
  • Review the Abstract for further details
  • No requirement for minimum number of hours.  
A recommendation is a shift of at least 3 hours for each day of work, to allow for a meaningful shift.

Prohibited Occupations (and Exceptions) for Minors

Some occupational duties are prohibited or limited for interns to safeguard the health and lives of minors by state and federal child labor laws.  The laws especially pertain to trades, equipment/machinery, materials/substances, physical/manual labor duties, and hazardous duties.  However, various other occupational areas are referenced too, such as food service for example. 

All supervisors and HR staff should review the following resources to determine if the planned high school internship duties are prohibited, limited, or have exceptions:

The PA Prohibited Occupations List specifies occupational duties that require students to be in vo-tech (career & technical center) and considered "student learners."  The vo-tech requirement is designated by an asterisk (*) throughout the list, and is explained on Page 6. 

When a vo-tech requirement is specified, an Additional Requirement must be included on the job posting.  The recommended language is:  "Must be a vo-tech (career and technical center) student in an approved cooperative vocational training program that has prepared the student for the duties and the description of work described in this posting."    

Additional resources for child labor laws:  Code of Federal Regulations (Title 29, Ch V, Parts 570.50 - 570.68), PA Code Title 34 (Chapter 11), PA Child Labor Act (Sections 4 & 5), Federal Fact Sheet #43, PA Bureau of Labor Law Compliance (Dept of L&I), and U.S. Dept of Labor.

For questions and assistance, the supervisor and HR Liaison are encouraged to contact the agency's legal office or the PA Department of Labor & Industry, Bureau of Labor Law Compliance, at 717.705.5969 or via email.

Internship Forms

The OA and the Department of Education have partnered to develop the following forms for commonwealth High School Interns. They are the only acceptable forms for this program. Commonwealth agencies are not able to accept a school’s version of these forms. 

  • Training Plan – This document will outline the training activities and overall educational plan for the student in the internship. 
  • Statement of Responsibilities – This document identifies the responsibilities of the supervisor, student, and school during the duration of the internship. 
  • Student Performance Evaluation – The student evaluation should be completed at least once during the internship, or as often as requested by the school, to identify the student’s overall progress and development during the internship.

Additional Resources

HR Staff Resources

Intern Supervisor Resources

General Resources


    For additional questions and support, please email the Entry Programs resource account at