Internships for ALL: 5 things you should consider
American leaders have championed equal education access as a nation for quite some time. Yet too many have been locked out of the social and economic benefits that education promises to deliver. What about equal CAREER access? Early career experiences, like early college experiences, increase the likelihood of entry and success into the world of work. That’s why Internship Month raises one of the most important issues of our day. For social and economic mobility we need both education and career development throughout the lifespan.
Employer-funder summer internships for all students, long promoted by our CCD Founder Leo Reddy, is what we all stand for. About 40% of internships are unpaid positions in the U.S., even though paid internships are 32% more likely to result in a full-time job offer than unpaid internships. How can we make employer-funded internships for all students happen? And can we add adult internships?
#1 Here are the facts. It’s estimated that 300,000 people intern each year in the United States. National Internship Awareness Month is celebrated every year in April to recognize the value and importance of internships in the professional development of students and young professionals. The month-long celebration aims to raise awareness about the benefits of internships, encourage companies to offer internship opportunities, and help students and graduates find and secure valuable internship positions.
#2 The career readiness for ALL case. Unfortunately the most valuable early career opportunities are not made available to all. All too often, internships are made available first to selected students, while a more universal “Internships for ALL” would open the door to the democracy of opportunity that our nation represents.
#3 The career development for ALL case. Why is most of the focus on students and recent graduates in the conversation about internships? I would add that creating Adult Internships should be considered for every organization that values employees enough to provide access to career growth within their organizations. We should consider Returnships as well, for those who have become disconnected from work through a range of circumstances. This is how we build career readiness for ALL.
#4 The business case. For employers, internships are an effective way to assess and grow talent while also benefiting from the fresh ideas and perspectives from those with different entry points to the work environment. Internships also provide an opportunity for companies to demonstrate corporate social responsibility and by supporting individuals to shape their career paths.
#5 The social and economic mobility case. Internships offer a unique opportunity for current and future workers to gain hands-on experience in their field of study, learn valuable skills, build their professional network, and gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities in their chosen industry. Because of inequities for career development throughout the lifespan–which the Coalition for Career Development seeks to address–community colleges provide a great opportunity to access internships for adults.
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