- Internship Program Design
- What is an Internship?
- Benefits of an Internship Program
- Developing an Internship Program
- Defining Program Goals
- Create the Plan
- Planning Questions
- Recruiting an Intern
- Create a Detailed Job Description
- Notify Student of Internship Opportunity
- Resume Collection/Interview/Final Decision Process
- Leading an Intern
- Orientation Program
- Be Accessible for your Intern
- Periodic Evaluations
- TMCC's Internship Course Curriculum
- Take the Next Step with TMCC
Internship Program Design
What is an Internship?
Internships are courses which integrate classroom study with relevant hands-on experience by allowing the student to use their education and training in an actual "real world" work environment to gain industry experience. Theory and practice are blended by training in career-related areas of professional interest. This method of instruction serves as a testing ground to make a student’s educational program more relevant and meaningful while permitting employers to identify and select well-trained personnel.
Benefits of an Internship Program
Internships narrow career choices and focus on career goals, allowing students to inquire and learn more about a profession and, at the same time, gain insight about a specific industry or career field. Internships apply what a student learns in the classroom and transfers up to date knowledge and trends to the workplace, encompassing a progressive partnership for the community. Internships build a professional network, offer a student the opportunity to "get their foot in the door" of a particular industry or company; and the student meets people in the industry and gains professional contacts. While employment is not guaranteed, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), 70% of employers say they would hire their student interns for full-time positions after graduation before looking elsewhere.
Developing an Internship Program
The success of your internship program depends on the planning and organization of the program before a student is placed. The planning process includes defining goals for the program, determining to whom the intern will report, the length of the internship, qualifications of the candidates, determining the intern's assignments and how the intern will be evaluated.
Defining Program Goals
Adequate discussion between all appropriate departments (i.e. management, human resources, hiring department) will help identify the goals for the program. This is a good time to discuss expectations, so that everyone involved has a clear understanding of the scope of the internship program.
Create the Plan
A good idea is to develop an intern manual. Keeping all of the planning documents in one place and well-organized will assist in the planning and continuation of the program. You might consider having your intern track their work as well. An intern’s documentation can serve as a guide for future interns.
There are a number of questions that should be answered during the development of a well-organized and effective internship program.
- Will the intern be paid or unpaid?
TMCC prefers an internship to be a paid position. Should you decide to pay your intern, the amount will vary based on industry, geographic location and responsibilities you place on the intern. Should your organization be unable to provide a paid experience, you must be familiar with and understand the Department of Labor's six part test to comply with their regulations. In addition, TMCC students receive academic credit for their internship experience. In order to receive academic credit, the student, employer and faculty team must develop learning objectives and outcomes (Appendix A) with the internship coordinator.
- Where will the Intern’s workspace be?
It is best to provide a designed workspace for the intern whenever possible. This will help the intern acclimate more quickly, be more productive, and feel as though they are part of the team.
- What type of orientation/training will the intern receive?
An intern will adjust to the environment and culture of the organization more quickly when they go through a well-designed orientation program. They will also be more productive given adequate training and a meaningful assignment.
- What responsibilities will the intern have?
An accurate job description will be helpful when recruiting an intern as well as outlining the skills and responsibilities of the position.
- What academic skills, major and experience should the intern have?
As part of the job description, try to determine which academic majors you are looking for.
- Who will supervise the intern?
It is recommended the intern have one supervisor who is also interested in acting as the partner/mentor to the student. The intern’s supervisor would act as the primary contact for TMCC during the internship.
- Will this be a long-term internship program or a one-time opportunity?
Each internship is a semester in length and you will be asked to complete an evaluation on your intern, make recommendations to the program; and then recruit the next intern for the following semester.
Recruiting an Intern
Create a Detailed Job Description
Perhaps the best way to clearly define the intern's position and attract candidates is with a well-defined, thorough description of the position details. The internship position will be entered into "Careerlink" our on on-line job board, which allows students to search positions 24/7.
Key components of a job description are:
- Description of the organization interested in an intern
- Description of the position responsibilities
- Required skills
- Work location
- Hours required
- Compensation (paid or unpaid)
- Time period of internship (fall, spring or summer semester)
- Academic status of applicant (near graduation)
- Application process detailed on job posting
Notify Students of Internship Opportunity
Typically, employers will post their internship opportunity on "CareerLink" or contact the internship coordinator for additional questions.
Students who are registered with CareerLink and the Internship Office will have 24/7 access to search for internship positions throughout the year. Finally, faculty will be notified of internship opportunities, so they can promote and recommend students to apply.
Resume Collection/Interview/Final Decision Process
The internship coordinator will manage the internship postings and collect resumes. Once reviewed and recommended by the College, the internship coordinator will contact the employer to schedule interviews. The internship coordinator will contact the employer for their decision and will prepare the College's site agreement and collect the company's certificate of liability coverage. Learning objectives and outcomes will be developed and sent electronically to the Internship Office.
Leading an Intern
The relationship between the leader and achiever (intern) is critical to the success of the internship opportunity for both the organization and the intern. It is also important for you to encourage your intern to offer suggestions when appropriate.
Perhaps your organization has a well-designed employee orientation program. If so, consider using the same program for your interns. You can modify your existing program to include only those areas that are applicable.
A comprehensive intern orientation program should include:
- Overview of the organization (big picture)
- How the department fits into the larger organization
- How the intern’s position fits into the department
- Defining the intern’s role and responsibilities
- The organizational chart
- Tour the facility and key introductions
- Appropriate behavior when dealing with customers, vendors and clients.
- Specific policies
- Parking phone/email/internet
- HR policies/attendance/work schedule/breaks/lunch time
- Attendance and dress code policy
Be Accessible for your Intern
It will be beneficial to the intern to have regularly scheduled meetings with you. Here you can discuss progress being made toward meeting goals and current organizational news, offer constructive feedback, and find out how the intern is doing.
Early in this process, you and your intern developed learning objectives and outcomes for this internship. As the intern's leader, you will be asked to complete a final evaluation of the intern and if they met their objectives and outcomes, electronically, towards the end of the internship assignment.
TMCC's Internship Course Curriculum
Each intern is registered for an internship class for credit and may be required to follow their instructor's course curriculum. Intern curriculum may differ depending on each instructor's requirements and expectations. The intern is responsible for understanding the instructor’s and employer’s objectives during the internship.
Take the Next Step with TMCC
The next step in creating a successful internship is to contact TMCC's Career Hub Internship Office.