The Internship Program complements course work and helps undergraduate and graduate students see how their studies apply to their future plans and gives them the experience they need to compete in today's tough job market. At the same time, participation in the program eases the difficult transition from school to professional employment. Many students receive permanent job offers from their Internship employers upon graduation. Others find they have more employment offers in general than students who have not had an Internship experience.
Students who participate in Internships have an opportunity to explore different career directions through a planned work experience, apply classroom learning to practical work situations, and develop professional and interpersonal skills. Research supports the fact that graduates who have had previous Internship experience have secured full-time employment more quickly, and are promoted more rapidly, than students without Internship experience. Students who are placed as Internship trainees with the federal government are eligible for conversion to permanent employment upon graduation. In addition, Internship programs are prevalent in more than 80% of the Fortune 500 Companies, with many of their new college hires being supplied directly from their Internship programs.
Undergraduates and graduates of the university are eligible to participate if they meet the following criteria:
Some academic departments will grant credit for internship experiences. If you are interested in receiving academic credit, please contact your academic department. If you are granted academic credit for your experience, your program advisor will inform you of any additional requirements you will need to meet in order to receive credit. If the internship is taken for credit, grading will be on a pass/fail basis.
The internship process is extremely competitive and requires a high level of commitment, planning, and flexibility on the student's part in order to be successful. Because the process is competitive, students can become discouraged and disillusioned with the process. Please stay in touch with your department Internship Coordinator so that we can provide you as much support as possible while you are looking for a suitable experience.
Each academic department that awards credit will focus on:
Have your resume checked by a career coach. Since all internship positions are competitive, we strongly advise the student to review interviewing techniques and schedule a mock interview session with a career coach.
If you are seeking academic credit for the experience, you must contact your academic internship coordinator for instructions before accepting the internship.
If you are taking the internship for credit, your faculty internship advisor may follow-up with the student and supervisor during the work assignment. If possible, an on-site visit may be conducted by your Department Internship Coordinator (or professor, if for credit). If you are doing the internship without University credit, it is your responsibility to contact Career Café staff as soon as possible should you experience any challenges or difficulties during your internship.
It is also important for you to have a completed Learning Objectives Plan in your file. It will allow you to negotiate and build the terms of your internship with the employer and your advisor, if the employer lacks a formal internship description for you. It will help to eliminate possible problems or misunderstandings in the work place about your internship duties and assignments.
Please do not ignore volunteer experiences. This type of experience may be extremely valuable to your overall career development and will help you evaluate your future career plans, build your knowledge of your career and add to your resume.
Employers vary in size, scope and purpose. Prospective placements are available in organizations across the United States and from large corporations with well-established internship programs to small nonprofit agencies. The government employs internship students, with many of the positions paying at the GS entry level salary. The federal government offers some 6,000 - 7,000 internship opportunities each year. Some technical internships provide professionally competitive salaries, while others are non-paid. In these instances, students may be able to arrange academic credit for their work experience.
Employers realize tremendous benefits from hiring internship students. They have access to qualified students who provide assistance with short-term or special projects at relatively low cost. They are able to recruit full-time employees more easily and economically by using these students as an employment pool for future jobs. Employers also cooperate with the university in joint training efforts and promote positive relations with students and faculty members.
The employer is responsible for providing Worker's Compensation coverage if the student accepts a paid placement. Worker's Compensation covers injuries and lost wages should the student employee become injured at work or performing duties for work. Employers are not required to provide Worker's Compensation for students in volunteer or unpaid, internships positions. Also, the University is not responsible for injuries received by students during the internship and will not cover medical expenses. Students are advised to have medical insurance coverage before accepting a volunteer internship opportunity. Students may be covered by a parent's or spouse's medical insurance policy.
There are several ways to locate internship positions:
There are several sites on the Internet where employers list internship positions. If you have rarely used the Internet for job or internship searches, the Career Café conducts regular workshops on how to use it specifically to jobs or internship positions. If you have any questions plan to talk to a Career Café staff person.
Identify organizations you would like to work with and call their Personnel Department or contact a specific department within the organization. Ask them for an appointment to discuss internship opportunities. Talk to the employer about your interests, skills and how you could be of benefit to their organization.
Some departments have structured internship and cooperative education programs. Faculty members are excellent resource persons and can be extremely helpful in providing suggestions regarding internship possibilities.
From time to time the Career Café receives calls from employers interested in hiring an intern. Position openings are received on an ongoing basis from many employers. If there is not a position available at the time you visit the Career Café and they can help you in developing a plan for obtaining an opening.