Internships: they’re not just for summer anymore
There is no question that summer is the most popular period for internships. Students are able to take advantage of a three month break from school to apply their classroom knowledge in practical settings. Additionally, over that same period, employers are able to leverage a reliable source of skilled employees to accomplish short-term projects as well as shore up teams that might be understaffed due to summer vacation schedules. By and large, participating in a summer internship program is highly beneficial to students and employers. So why should employers only take advantage of these benefits in the summer? There is no reason why employers can’t continue building their professional employee pipeline other than in the summer months. Consider the following arrangements to implement an internship program on a year round basis.
Break the Mold
When I managed the internship and cooperative education programs for the University of Texas at El Paso Career Center, there were often many reasons (e.g. financial, personal, career, etc.) students chose to extend their summer internships. While some colleges might not officially sponsor such arrangements, students might opt to continue working into the fall to meet certain personal obligations or needs. Furthermore, based on these same needs, many students might consider internship opportunities that make use of spring/summer combinations rather than the traditional summer schedule. In a nutshell, consider internships that might not fit the traditional internship “mold” – chances are good there are many students out there who will jump at the opportunity.
Flexibility in Quarter Systems
Both semester and quarter systems furnish college students approximately three months each summer for employment opportunities. However, quarter systems might offer employers additional choices when trying to implement an internship programs on a year round basis. Students attending colleges on quarter systems can provide more flexibility, particularly if projects well-suited for interns present themselves through out the year and not just the summer months. Quarter systems allow students to complete an internship in the middle of the year and still remain on track for graduation. Employers can even consider recruiting at schools using each system in order to meet their year round needs.
Depending on the college, some internship programs allow students to work 10-20 hours per week during the academic year. These types of internship arrangements allow students to work and potentially earn college credit provided that a student’s work experience is directly related to their area of study. These scenarios are a great option for local employers or organizations that offer virtual opportunities. For employers, it provides yet another opportunity to maintain an internship program year round.