Internships Take on New Meaning for Graduates and Corporations
With new college graduates facing one of the toughest job markets in years, internships are becoming one of the keys to getting hired in today’s economy. In many cases, universities consider internships so important that they are building endowments and offering stipends to fund students’ salaries, said Patrick Sullivan, associate director of experiential education at Wake Forest University.
This year, Wake Forest is giving $3,000 stipends to 51 students who have landed internships in entrepreneurial companies or non-profits. The stipends are funded through endowments and grants created specifically for this purpose.
“Internships are taking on a whole new meaning,” Sullivan said. “From the students’ perspective, it gives them the opportunity to gain experience that is critical to getting hired in this very competitive environment,” Sullivan said. “Employers also benefit when student build skills that they can take to the full-time workplace.”
A recent study suggests that students who do internships are more likely to receive job offers after graduation. The 2010 Student Survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) found that new graduates who took part in an internship program are more likely to have received a job offer than their peers who opted to forego the experience.
Slightly more than 42 percent of seniors who had internship experience and applied for a job received at least one job offer. In contrast, only 30.7 percent of seniors without internship experience who applied for a job received an offer.
Seniors with internship experience were also more likely to get a higher salary with their job offers than their counterparts who did not intern, the NACE found.
All of the Wake Forest internship money been doled out through the university’s career services office and entrepreneurship center, and even graduating seniors are using the internships to make them more marketable to employers.