(1) The intent of sections 81-1210.01 to 81-1210.03 is to provide students with valuable internship opportunities in order to retain such students and attract workers to Nebraska by assisting Nebraska businesses willing to provide paid internships.
(2) A business may apply to the department for a grant to assist in providing a student an internship if:
(a) The business certifies that the internship meets the definition of internship in section 81-1210.01;
(b) The business will pay the student at least the federal minimum hourly wage for the internship;
(c) The internship will be completed within the State of Nebraska;
(d) The internship will be completed within a period of no more than twelve months; and
(e) The internship will be for a duration sufficient to allow the student to gain significant valuable work experience and knowledge.
(3) The department may provide grants for internships in the following amounts:
(a) If the student receiving the internship is a Federal Pell Grant recipient at the time of grant application, the grant may be up to the lesser of seventy-five percent of the cost of the internship or seven thousand five hundred dollars. The business applying for the grant shall provide the department with documentation to prove that the student is a Federal Pell Grant recipient; and
(b) For all other students, the grant may be up to the lesser of seventy-five percent of the cost of the internship or five thousand dollars.
(4) A business may apply for no more than two grants for the same student, shall not be awarded more than five grants at any one location in any twelve-month period, and shall not be awarded more than ten grants total in any twelve-month period.
(5) A business may allow a student to telecommute if the business is located more than thirty miles from the college, university, or other institution of higher education in which the student is enrolled and if the college, university, or other institution of higher education is in Nebraska.
(6) The department shall, to the extent possible, assure that the distribution of grants under sections 81-1210.01 to 81-1210.03 provides equitable access to the grants by all geographic areas of the state.
(7) The department shall, to the extent possible, assure that the grants awarded pursuant to sections 81-1210.01 to 81-1210.03 are for internships which provide valuable learning opportunities for students who will be seeking employment in a professional or technical field.
(8) The department shall not allocate more than one million five hundred thousand dollars in any one fiscal year from the Job Training Cash Fund or its subaccounts for purposes of this section. The department may receive funds from public, private, or other sources for purposes of this section.
(9) The department shall develop a qualified action plan by January 1 of each even-numbered year. The plan shall, at a minimum, set forth the department's priorities and selection criteria for awarding grants for internships. In order to encourage students from across Nebraska to pursue internships, the plan shall also include strategies for affirmatively marketing internships to Nebraska students in high schools, colleges, universities, and other institutions of higher education in Nebraska. Such strategies shall place an emphasis on marketing to underserved student populations as defined by the department in the plan. The department shall submit the plan to the Governor for approval.