Watching unemployment figures go down and internship numbers go up

February 27, 2012 at 8:00 am | Posted in Creating Internships | Leave a comment
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Coach Susan Sandberg

Susan Sandberg

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment fell to 8.5% in January, the lowest in 3 years. And the number of internships on rose to 69,150 at 36,974 companies in 7,537 cities in 50 states.  Career services professionals will find these figures encouraging since internships often lead to jobs.

The national picture looks bright, according to the following recent reports from diverse organizations that share similar goals:

  • Illinois Wesleyan University:  IWU has 136 students participating in internships during the spring semester, which appears to be a record for the university and marks a 30 percent increase over the last five years. University internship coordinator Laurie Diekhoff notes an increase in underclassman seeking internships, not wanting to risk waiting until the final year to get valuable work experience. “We see more and more freshman at my door, asking about getting internships and particularly getting internships this summer,” Diekhoff said. Senior political science major Tracy Lytwyn has been volunteering and working as an intern since her freshman year. “I was under the impression that as a freshman I had plenty of time, but looking at how my life panned out, I was glad I started so early,” Lytwyn said.
  • The San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership:  This Irwindale-based agency has launched a new internship program called the Job Opportunities & Intern Network (JOIN) to promote economic growth in the Valley.  The Partnership believes the best way to do that is to foster the relationship between education and business. The agency created the JOIN program to aid businesses with meeting their staffing needs .The program is free for both businesses and students. The internship board will provide a place for employers to search through a pool of candidates from regional schools, including Mt. San Antonio College; Pasadena City College; Citrus Community College; Rio Hondo; Glendale Community College; Cal Poly Pomona; University of La Verne; and University of the West.
  • The White House Internship Program:  The Obama Administration recently invited representatives from Appalachian State University to the White House to learn more about the White House Internship Program for students and recent graduates. Appalachian was among 38 schools from 12 states who participated in “Path to the White House,” an event that provided a firsthand introduction to the White House Internship Program. The three schools from North Carolina were Appalachian, UNC Chapel Hill and Duke University. Participants learned about the White House’s commitment to the internship program, application and eligibility requirements, the profile of a successful applicant and the program’s curriculum.  Participating schools included public and private, and four-year and two-year institutions. Appalachian has already had one successful intern at the White House. His internship led to his current full-time position at the White House.
  • Step-Up Achieve Jobs program:  Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and U.S. Bancorp CEO Richard Davis are asking Minneapolis employers to make an investment in the city’s future workforce by hiring interns for the summer through the Step-Up Achieve Jobs Program.  The program involves hooking up city youth between the ages of 14 and 21 with paid summer internships at local companies, nonprofits and public agencies. Depending on length of employment, a business would pay about $1,000 for a part-time intern and $2,000 for a full-time intern. Since 2004, the program has placed more than 4,200 young people in jobs with more than 200 employers. More than 80 employers have already agreed to provide more than 550 Step-Up Achieve jobs in 2012. Present Step-Up Achieve employers increasing the number of internship positions offered include Adolfson & Peterson Construction, the City of Minneapolis, HealthPartners, Hennepin County, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, U.S. Bancorp, and University of Minnesota.

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