How can organizations meet the needs of today and prepare the workforce of the future? One solution is to develop a quality internship program.
Radford University has a decentralized internship program, in which each department has its own policies governing the granting of credit for internship hours, and decisions regarding integrating internships into the academic program of study. The Office of Career Services works with students and faculty in providing relevant information, resources and advice including: connecting with employers for the purpose of internship site development, subsequent promotion of developed sites to the students, faculty, and staff of the University, and continuous advisement on the application procedures for the internship experience.
Radford University Career Services supports the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) definition and criteria of 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 .'"
- The experience must be an extension of the classroom: a learning experience that provides for applying the knowledge gained in the classroom. It must not be simply to advance the operations of the employer or be the work that a regular employee would routinely perform.
- The skills or knowledge learned must be transferable to other employment settings.
- The experience has a defined beginning and end, and a job description with desired qualifications.
- There are clearly defined learning objectives/goals related to the professional goals of the student’s academic coursework.
- There is supervision by a professional with expertise and educational and/or professional background in the field of the experience.
- There is routine feedback by the experienced supervisor.
- There are resources, equipment, and facilities provided by the host employer that support learning objectives/goals.
How Do Internships Benefit Employers?
• Year round source of highly motivated pre‐professionals
• Students bring new perspectives to old problems
• Visibility of your organization is increased on campus
• Quality candidates for temporary or seasonal positions and projects
• Freedom for professional staff to pursue more creative projects
• Flexible, cost‐effective work force not requiring a long‐term employer commitment
• Proven, cost‐effective way to recruit and evaluate potential employees
• Your image in the community is enhanced as you contribute your expertise to the Educational Enterprise