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Survey Says: Internship Programs are Pipelines for Recruitment

By Jenna Lebel

Results from a 2007 Experience, Inc. survey of over fifty employers indicate that 65% have formal internship programs, with 22% currently in the process of creating them.

Why are internships so popular? Students find that internships are an invaluable way to give them real world experience and to utilize the knowledge they've gained in the classroom. But it is not only the students who find these internships beneficial; employers feel the same way for multiple reasons.

Employers hire students to fill internship positions in a variety of areas--ranging from Sales and Marketing to Engineering and Design. Their responsibilities vary depending on the employer and the industry, but one thing is universal: they are gaining valuable real-world experience.

But it's not just students who benefit from internships--employers are gaining something as well. Our survey respondents indicated that they hire interns for two main reasons. Fifty-four percent of employers view their internship program as a pipeline for full-time hires, while 31% view their program as extra resources to help complete projects.

Erin Green of The Center for American Progress explains, "We are committed to fostering the next generation of progressive leaders. The Center for American Progress provides talented young interns with exposure to leading progressive thought and opportunities for skills development in hopes of increasing their future commitment and contribution to the progressive movement."

Katie Simpson of MSI Systems Integrators, Inc. (Omaha, NE) added, "At MSI, we truly see internships as just the beginning of a great career, and so we only hire the best interns that apply."

Interns are valuable assets for employers, who asserted that interns are not there to get coffee or make copies; they are treated like every other employee in the company.

"Our interns are immediately part of the team. Anyone who visits our office can't tell the difference between interns and full-time employees," said Valerie McBrady of ImageTrend, Inc. (Lakeville, MN).

Some of these interns even become part of the team indefinitely. Jason Reicks of Novellus Systems Inc. (San Jose, CA) claims that most of his company's interns are considered and even hired for full-time employment. Nicola Jones of Respironics (Murraysville, PA) also asserts that interns have been brought back for full-time employment.

"A number of our previous trainees have gone on to transition to full-time professionals, starting at entry-level, and then some have gone on towards Management and Senior Management over the years, and are still growing with us," said Afzaal Hassan of American Mortgage & Investment Services, Inc. (Silver Springs, MD).

With students gaining experience in a working environment and employers finding extra help and potential full-time employees, internships are a win-win situation.

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