Making the Most of Your Internships

April 18, 2023
Inside HR
Engagement & Retention
Recruiting & Hiring
Read time: 2 mins

Spring brings the time of year that employers and students begin to think about internship opportunities. Have you thought about the experience your internship program provides for your interns? Or are you providing a summer job for a student with work unrelated to their coursework? Both create opportunities, but there is a difference!

According to the University of Maryland, an internship is “a professional learning experience that offers meaningful, practical work related to a student’s field of study or career interest. An internship gives a student the opportunity for career exploration and development and to learn new skills.” Many internship programs allow the student to gain credit through their experiences—provided they are related to the student’s course of study.

Your company’s internship program should keep this difference in mind when designing or updating your program to ensure the student receives the developmental experiences needed as they transition into the workforce. Developing a program that provides impactful professional development opportunities for interns can have positive outcomes for students and organizations whose goals include converting interns into their regular workforce.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) reports that students are not only looking to use and increase their technical skills through an internship but expect experiences that support their career readiness. NACE has identified eight career readiness competencies to consider when developing an intern program:

  • Career and self-development
  • Leadership
  • Communication
  • Professionalism
  • Critical thinking
  • Teamwork
  • Equity and inclusion
  • Technology

Students recognize the importance of these skills in the workplace and are looking for organizations with a culture that nourishes learning with a commitment to mission, culture, and growth opportunities.

Well-designed internship programs provide a company with a workforce that aligns with its needs. Research indicates that organizations benefit from interns by bringing fresh perspectives, ideas, and skills, and can create strong brand ambassadors through positive experiences.

MRA has developed an Internship Leadership Program that incorporates networking opportunities, professional development, and an opportunity to establish long-term business relationships. Our program also provides resources for employers and internship coordinators to help you get a new program off the ground or improve an existing one.

A robust intern program will have eager students knocking on your door!