Tracking national trends in internships

April 12, 2012 at 8:00 am | Posted in Advising interns | Leave a comment
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Coach Susan Sandberg

Susan Sandberg

Internships are a hot topic. Articles about internships appear daily around the world in newspapers, online publications, and blogs. Campus chat and dinner table talk often revolve around internships—where they are, who has them, how to get one, etc. Whether a person is an undergraduate, graduate student, or unemployed, internships are the lifeline to full-time employment. As a busy career professional, you have little time to keep updated, but it might be helpful to evaluate the following trends for your program:

  • Post-internship positionsCompanies are developing new programs to stay in touch with their interns. NASA has selected 100 of their “high-performing interns” to be inducted into the 2012 NASA Student Ambassadors Virtual Community. The Student Ambassadors program is part of NASA’s effort to encourage learning and education in their related fields. Referring to these fields of study as STEM (or science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), NASA also provides research, teaching, and training tools for educators on their website. The agency also provides internship opportunities and scholarships for interested students. Each group of selected interns to participate in this virtual community is called a “CPohort”. As this most recent group to be selected will be the fourth in the program’s history, they will be known as “Cohort IV” and will be comprised of students from 34 states and 73 universities in the United States.
  • Internship competitionThe competition is getting tougher, says an article in the Kansas City Star. According to recent news reports, some employers have gotten rid of unpaid internships this year or have converted them to paid programs and are hiring fewer summer employees because they fear lawsuits regarding compensation. You can interpret that as good news because you’re more likely to be paid this summer if you land an internship. It’s also good news that employers have been put on notice that they can’t take advantage of free labor. But it puts the summertime squeeze on many students who will find fewer training positions available. As a result, they’ll lose out on entry-level workplace experience that could lead to full-time advancement. The controversy stems in part from a handful of lawsuits that have been filed over the past year by unpaid interns who alleged they were taken advantage of and should have been paid for their work. Unpaid internships became much more prevalent during the recession as companies sought to control salary and benefit costs by hiring a ready, willing and able pool of unpaid students seeking to build resumes. There are about 1.5 million interns hired every year, and more than half are unpaid positions, according to a USA Today story.
  • Internship CoalitionsAn adjunct professor at Northeastern University notes how Boston groups are helping students find internships, co-ops, and jobs. The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are hosting a gathering of business and academic leaders to discuss the benefits and best practices of student internships. The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce also is offering Chamber Intern Connect to connect area employers with college students throughout the region. No matter the specific internship, industry, or paid vs. unpaid opportunity, Chamber members post summer internships to a high-traffic database as well as the Commonwealth’s statewide Mass Stay Here internship site. The Massachusetts Innovation and Technology Exchange (MITX), led by BWP Connector Debi Kleiman, offers student opportunities throughout the year. With a similar mission the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC)’s Education Foundation has launched the MassTLC Internship Network as the go-to source for tech sector internships in Massachusetts.
  • Internship-Partnership InnovationsBusiness Wire reports on a new trend of two companies joining together to offer one super-charged internship experience. Bayer MaterialScience LLC and the Pittsburgh Penguins today announced the first dual-internship program associated with the two iconic Pittsburgh names. Both Bayer and the Penguins currently have independent internship programs; however, the two Pittsburgh-based organizations have decided to team up and offer a dynamic internship experience to college students in the region. The six-month internship, focused on new media, will have the student assisting the Penguins’ Director of New Media, from June to August and then working with the social media team lead at Bayer MaterialScience LLC, from September to November. This type of internship is appropriate for college students pursuing a degree in Multimedia, Communications, Marketing, Interactive Design or a related discipline. Through innovative thinking, Bayer MaterialScience LLC and the Penguins have created a collaborative model for other organizations to give college students an opportunity to expand their experiences as they begin their careers.


Starting 2012 on a bright note for interns and graduating seniors

January 23, 2012 at 8:25 am | Posted in Job market | Leave a comment
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Coach Susan Sandberg

Susan Sandberg

The labor market continues to improve. The U.S. added 200,000 jobs in December, while the unemployment rate fell to 8.5%, the lowest rate since February 2009. The picture improves for internships, too, as new trends emerge in 2012. More and more internships are being paid, more internships are leading to jobs, and new innovative strategies generate more internships.

Here’s how:

  • Paid internships:  The Chicago Transit Authority offers a full-time, paid internship in Technology & Resource Management. It provides seniors or graduate students with hands-on, real-world experience, enabling interns to integrate and utilize knowledge and skills from the classroom and to discover where further competencies are needed. Major: Technology, Management, Tele-Communication (Communication Engineering), Business, Finance, Planning, Policy. Here’s a promising internship found on for Commodity Trader at Norman International in Houston, TX. There are 5 full-time, paid positions at Norman, a privately held energy company with a portfolio of competitive and regulated energy subsidiaries.  Interns will market a portfolio of petroleum and natural gas derivatives to maximize sales revenues, work with a range of clients, develop service and maintain a book of clients in the energy industry. Suggest that your students browse through the thousands of listings to find other paid internships.
  • Internships into jobs:  President Obama on Dec. 31 signed a bill that seeks to encourage federal agencies to hire more interns into full-time jobs. The Federal Internship Improvement Act, which was attached to the National Defense Authorization Act, requires the Office of Personnel Management to create and maintain a centralized database of people who have finished, or are just about to finish, internships with federal agencies and are looking for full-time federal jobs. That database will contain job seekers’ names, contact information and relevant skills. The amendment also requires agencies to appoint an internship coordinator, and to conduct exit interviews and surveys with outgoing interns. Agencies will be required to send a report on how many interns took part in an internship program over the last year along with demographic and educational material. Those reports also must describe the work interns did, how the internship programs used mentors, and how agencies are recruiting new interns and taking steps to offer more interns permanent federal jobs.
  • Innovative Strategy: A pro-active professor at Ivy Tech in Indiana utilizes the local media to help his students find internships. He recently wrote an article promoting Ivy Tech students as excellent internship material and asking businesses to contact him to arrange internships consisting of 144 flexible hours of accounting or similar work. He also listed the students’ education and skills. “Any type of business with some in-house accounting is ideal for our interns and can be a great asset to your business. We have had students work in local CPA firms, banks, multiple for profit business, hospitals and municipal government centers.” He ended the piece with a clear call for action. “Please help our students obtain this important piece of their education by offering internships. If you’d like more information or would be willing to interview students for potential internships anywhere in East Central Indiana, contact Kevin Veneskey, CPA, accounting.

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