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Employer Services

Employer Internship Toolkit

What is an Internship? 

"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."    National Association of Colleges & Employers (NACE)

The following criteria should be considered when constructing an internship position:

  • Internships can occur during the fall, spring, or summer and range from a couple of months to over six months in duration.  The average internship lasts about a semester (four months).
  • While some internships are full-time, most range from 10 - 30 hours per week.
  • Internships can be paid (preferably) or unpaid (typically non-profit settings), for credit or not for credit, or any combination of these. (Note: The issue of pay is dictated by the Fair Labor Standards Act. To provide guidance regarding whether interns should be paid the minimum wage.)
  • Details about the number of hours worked, length of internship, rate of pay, and other specifics are typically negotiated between employers and potential interns. Internships for-credit may include input from a faculty advisor.
  • Is different from a short-term job or volunteer work and has an intentional “learning agenda” in a structured work environment.
  • Promotes academic, career and/or personal development. 
  • Learning objectives are integral to the internship, distinguishing them from volunteer positions.
  • Has an existing employee working in the department/position to mentor and supervise the intern.

Benefits for Employers from an Internship Program

  • An inexpensive recruiting tool and an opportunity to train future employees - the opportunity to evaluate prospective employees while they are working for the organization can reduce significant costs in finding new talent
  • Interns bring current technology and ideas from the classroom to the workplace and therefore increase an organization's intellectual capital
  • An internship program can supply an easily accessible source of highly motivated pre-professionals
  • Interns provide an opportunity for mid-level staff to manage