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DCPS and Education Design Lab Team Up with Employers to Offer Remote Summer Internships

Education Design Lab, the national nonprofit that pioneered the concept of learner-centric design in education, today announced the launch of a paid remote internship program with District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) that will offer students hands-on work experience through real-world projects submitted by employers. More than 100 local high school students will participate in the Creativity for COVID remote internship program, an immersive, six-week experience that will culminate with students presenting their plans to  employers and earning an industry-supported digital credential in creative problem solving.

“COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on the National Capital Region, one of the country’s most beloved destinations for tourism and travel. Our local industry is in survival and recovery, causing internships and seasonal jobs in hospitality to be cancelled,” said Claire Carlin, vice president of partnerships and alliances at Destination DC and executive director at American Experience Foundation.  “The virtual internship program will allow us to enlist the bright, enthusiastic, creative students here in Washington, D.C. to help us plan for recovery and build an even more inclusive tourism and hospitality industry.  We know we will be inspired by what these minds envision for our industry’s future.”

In collaboration with three local employers and volunteer experts, who are all working professionals, provided through Design Thinking DC, students will work in teams of ten over the next six weeks on design challenges to develop creative business plans to tackle key problems facing the Washington, D.C. community.   The four area employers are participating in the virtual summer internship program include:

  • DCPS Facilities Department, which is rethinking the design of the traditional classroom to better enhance the positive attributes of a digitally-focused word.
  • Destination DC, which is developing a strategy to support a safe reopening of local tourism and to rebuild DC’s hospitality and tourism industry that is more equitable;
  • National Council for Behavioral Health, which is  developing a campaign to increase use of their mental health resources by teenagers through improved brand awareness and messaging;
  • And Education Design Lab, which is studying the impact of the current economic crisis on the changing views and attitudes of high school students toward higher education and training options available to them after graduation.

The initiative is part of a coordinated effort across D.C. government agencies and local employers to connect high school students with remote summer employment opportunities at a time when many local businesses and organizations remain closed.  Local programs, such as the District’s iconic Mayor Marion Barry’s Summer Youth Employment Program, continue to play a critical role in expanding employment opportunities for students from low-income households.

“In this challenging time for the whole country, underserved students are facing enormous uncertainty around their education and career plans, compounding the historic resource and equity gaps that still persist in our communities, ” said Don Fraser,  Jr., director of micro-credentialing at the Education Design Lab. “Through this unique collaboration, students will not only gain empowering, hands-on work experience that relates directly to supporting recovery efforts in their own community,  but they also earn an in-demand digital credential that will help open doors to employment and career networks.”

Following the DCPS pilot, Education Design Lab plans to work with other school districts and cities to meet rising demand for remote internships.

Founded in 2014, Education Design Lab partners with school districts, colleges, universities, and employers to help design, test and scale new models for underserved learners. Since releasing its toolkit for the digital badging of 21st century skills in 2018, more than 1100 institutions of higher education, K-12 school districts, nonprofits and businesses  have signed on to use or learn about the badges.

The remote internship program is made possible through funding from three DC focused family foundations: the Kimsey, Klingengstein  and deLaski family foundations. To learn more about Education Design Lab’s badging and microcredentialing work with, visit


About Education Design Lab: Education Design Lab is a national nonprofit that designs, tests, and implements unique higher education models and credentials that address the rapidly changing economy and emerging technology opportunities. The Lab demonstrates where technology, rigor and design can improve opportunity for historically underserved learners to maximize their potential in the higher education system.

Education Design Lab works across disciplines and alongside schools, employers, entrepreneurs, government, foundations, nonprofits and innovators. The organization has significant experience managing national and local learning cohorts, working with organizations such as The Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, the United Negro College Fund, Walmart, American Council on Education and the ECMC Foundation. Learn more: