National Internship Month
By: Pat Donahue
April is a busy time at IU.
Spring weather has arrived and we enjoy longer days of sunshine.
Term papers are due and exams are given.
And there’s this giant party with a bike race in the middle called Little 500.
What you don’t know is that April is now National Internship Month.
Although internships may not send shivers down your spine like the movie “Us”, they have become a necessary part of career planning.
Ideally, students should participate in two internships before they graduate. Most students participate in internships the summers after their sophomore and junior year.
How did internships evolve? Here’s a brief history of internships:
In the Middle Ages, young people who wanted to learn skilled trades would commit to working with a “master” craftsman. They would receive a “Master’s” in a skilled trade, such as blacksmithing.
These craftsmen formed associations or unions called “guilds”. You will still see that term with associations, such as the Writers Guild of America.
Although their popularity has ebbed and flowed throughout history (Benjamin Franklin was a printer’s apprentice), apprenticeships are back in vogue, especially in the skilled trades and occupations such as plumber or electrician.
Co-op (short for co-operative education) programs developed in the 1950s as part of the United States’ investment in math, science, and engineering to win the Space race. Students, usually from engineering programs, would work for an employer while taking classes.
Internships developed in the 1960’s and have been expanding greatly ever since. Many internships are paid, but despite recent lawsuits, some internships in the entertainment industry, government, and non-profits still have unpaid internships.
The term, intern, actually came from the field of medicine. It means a person with a degree, but without a license to practice: a physician in training.
Most students participate in internships during the summer and internships have become international, but the reason for participating in an internship remains the same: they allow students to explore career options, gain practical experiences and knowledge of an industry, and meet future colleagues in the work environment they are considering.
Students who intern also greatly increase their chances of being hired. When hiring, employers first hire their interns over other applicants in a process called “conversion”, meaning they are “converted” from an intern to a full time employee. Over 75% of employers first hire from their intern class.
If you are still seeking a summer internship, it is not too late. Summer internships are still being posted at the Career Development Center and other career services offices on campus.
Please set up a meeting with your assigned career coach so you can find an internship this summer.