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OCAST Intern Partnership Program

  • Apply for $30,000.
  • Hire student interns.
  • Create talent pipelines between your company and high-caliber university STEM students.

Companies can obtain up to $30,000/year for two years to cover student intern salary and project costs for innovative industry projects through the OCAST Intern Partnerships program. Intern Partnerships projects are funded within the targeted industries identified in the 2021-2026 Science and Innovation Strategic Plan, which includes biotechnology; aerospace, autonomous systems and defense; and energy diversification.

Innovation/Company Benefits

Intern Partnerships allow you to hire key student intern talent who contribute to your technology and company growth. More than 98% of companies who utilize the OCAST Intern Partnerships program say they would hire their interns permanently.

Intern Benefit: Innovation projects at your company provide a hands-on, applied experience for student interns; introduce the student intern to employment opportunities within your company and industry; and immerse the student interns into the business culture of your company.

Impact: Connecting with students and bridging the gap between higher education and industry is key to retaining talent. Developing a strong Oklahoma STEM workforce is vital to driving innovation, economic growth, and competitiveness.


  • Must be undergraduate or graduate students currently enrolled in a 2- or 4-year college or university (CareerTech students concurrently enrolled in college are also eligible)
  • Are students majoring in STEM-based disciplines, including natural sciences, computer science, materials science, engineering, biomedical/biotechnical, data analytics, finance/mathematics, or a support area related to building successful high-tech companies.


  • Must involve tasks and objectives beyond day-to-day operational activities.
  • Lead to innovation, new knowledge or technology that will benefit the company.
  • Produce a measurable result and provide a positive impact to the company.
  • Must have an end-user application in the area of aerospace, autonomous systems, or defense; biotechnology; or energy diversification.


  • Must be an Oklahoma-based company.
  • Must commit a $1-for-$1 match.
  • Should include a Project Manager and Mentor (Project Managers can also serve as Mentors); advanced degrees are not required.

IMPORTANT Notification:

Anyone applying for OCAST funding through any of the agency’s programs MUST register to become a State Supplier before state funds may be transferred to the program award recipient. 

To apply please visit the Oklahoma Supplier Portal and register via the portal.  Please use the assistance information provided in the portal if you find that you need help with the registration process because OCAST is not able to access the supplier portal or assist registrants.

Failure to register as a state supplier will prohibit payments to OCAST Programs award recipients.


Award Management

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to recruit from an Oklahoma-based university?
No. Students may be recruited from in-state or out-of-state institutions.


Does OCAST recruit and hire the student intern for my company?
Each company is responsible for recruiting, interviewing and hiring interns. OCAST staff are happy to connect you to Oklahoma’s colleges and universities and provide suggestions on where to best find the student expertise you are seeking for your internship program.


Can I hire more than one intern for the project proposed?
Yes. Remember to plan for all anticipated expenditures within the budget forms in the application submission. 


What intern project costs can be covered by OCAST?
The typical costs covered by OCAST include intern salary(ies), supplies and materials for the project, and travel if applicable. Costs must be directly associated with the project proposed. Indirect costs such as food/snacks, housing, or computers are unallowable.


What is the expected intern salary rate?
It is expected Intern Partnerships positions will pay a rate competitive with the market average for the position(s) proposed. The minimum intern salary rate is $18 an hour. On average, Intern Partnerships positions pay between $18-$21 an hour. There is no maximum salary rate.


Can I hire a student who is nearing graduation?
Interns must be currently enrolled to be eligible for the Intern Partnerships program.


What student classification is required?
There is not a student classification requirement. Students may be Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors, or Graduate students to be eligible. Projects should be suitable for the student classification proposed.

Last Modified on Jun 17, 2024