Internships are an invaluable experience for both the employer and student. As an employer hosting an intern, your organization has the opportunity to mentor students and increase your brand on Shenandoah’s campus, creating a partnership. This partnership will further promote your recruitment efforts on campus, which will lead to a more productive workplace. In addition, interns can give organizations a new perspective on a project or work-related activity. Students benefit from internships by gaining valuable skills from organizations, and learning about an industry in a professional setting. This all occurs while giving them hands-on, real-world experience that they will be able to utilize in their future careers. Employers can post internships on Handshake.
As defined by NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers) An internship is a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting. Internships give students the opportunity to gain valuable applied experience and make connections in professional fields they are considering for career paths; and give employers the opportunity to guide and evaluate talent.
There are 7 criteria that must be met in order to have a legitimate internship program:
- The experience has to be an extension of the student’s classroom learning experience. It cannot simply advance the operations of the employer, or be the work that a regular employee completes.
- The skills and knowledge that students are gaining should be transferrable to other employment settings
- An internship experience must have a defined beginning and end date. It should also have a descriptive job posting that states what qualifications are essential
- There must be clearly defined learning objectives and goals that relate to the student’s professional goals and coursework
- There should be a supervisor, mentor, or advisor at the place of work that has experience in the field in which they are overseeing
- There is feedback provided by the supervisor to ensure learning and growth
- There should be enough resources and proper facilities by the employer that support the students learning objectives/goals
Want to walk through the criteria with a career service professional? Contact Career & Professional Development at firstname.lastname@example.org or 540-665-5412
There are plenty of benefits to hosting an intern or starting an internship program. Here are just three reasons why you should consider it!
- Increase your organization’s presence and recruit future employees. Not only does an internship program expose your company to new talent, but it creates an experience for the intern who will then share it with others. Even in the age of digital media, word of mouth proves time and time again to be a powerful tool.
- Boosting Productivity is another way interns make a positive impact. An additional set of hands can do wonders for an organization! Perhaps there is a project that you have not been able to focus on, such as a marketing plan for your organization. Consider hiring a marketing student. It’s a win-win as the student gains critical skills that relates back to their study, and it advances your business and gives you an opportunity to be a mentor.
- Supporting and mentoring students gives you an opportunity to grow, discover new ideas, and enhance your perspective. Each student you employ comes with a unique skill set and perspective. Sharing your expertise allows a student to gain valuable skills, gain networking connections, and help launch them in their career.
- Have a detailed job posting that outlines the position, qualifications and responsibilities. This helps ensure you are attracting candidates with a genuine interest in the field, who are qualified.
- Hold an orientation for new interns, to assist them in getting to know the company and expectations
- Set goals and objectives with the intern which relate back to the student’s program of study
- Provide feedback on a regular basis on their work in order to help them grow, and encourage their learning
- Ensure that a specific mentor/supervisor is assigned to the intern. Some companies may choose to include an “Internship Manager” at their organization
- Include the intern in regular organization events. This will help them feel as if they are getting an authentic experience of working at your organization.
- Create opportunities for students to network with the organization’s employees as well as other interns, if applicable. Networking is a very valuable skill they can build upon to help them be successful after college.
- Provide compensation for interns, or special benefits. This will allow you to attract a larger candidate pool, and stay in sync with current labor laws and restrictions. Compensation can also be in the form of a one time stipend, or hourly wage. If this is not possible, ensure you are meeting all the rules of the labor laws and consider other benefits that may attract interns such as networking opportunities and flexible scheduling.
- Provide the intern with a plan to develop them, and give them a well rounded experience. Gone are the days where it is acceptable to have the intern make the copies and go on coffee runs. Sitting down early on with them to set goals and objectives will help keep them focused, and allow the most opportunity for growth.
- Ask for their feedback after their experience. If a positive one, you can use their testimony to attract more interns to your company!