Employers are seeking internship experience when reviewing recent graduates’ résumés. In fact, research from the National Association of Colleges and Employers states that internships often carry more weight than major, GPA or leadership roles in the hiring process. However, due to disruptions caused by COVID-19, off-campus, private-sector internships are not as numerous as they once were.

Stephen F. Austin State University’s Center for Career and Professional Development and Department of Human Resources have partnered to offer guidance to departments that are interested in expanding or creating on-campus internship programs for students. HR can assist with creating and posting the opportunities, and CCPD can offer best practices from its own on-campus internship program. The departments have collaborated on the On-Campus Internship Insider, and are hosting open office hours on Zoom with representatives who can answer questions about these processes.

Representatives from CCPD and HR will host open Zoom office hours for anyone who wants to talk about creating an internship program. For more information, join Zoom at:
On-Campus Internships Q&A #1 – 1-2 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27
On-Campus Internships Q&A #2 – 1-2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28

Research shows that above all else, employers like to see problem solving, teamwork and professionalism on a potential hire’s résumé. And those three things, along with the mainstay of real-world experience, are what make internships so important for graduates looking to start their careers. At a university the size of SFA, home to over 120 areas of study in six colleges, there are plenty of opportunities to give willing students the tools they need to succeed in the workplace, regardless of their major or intended career.  

While off-campus internships have always been a valuable tool for students looking to boost their prospects, times have changed. Shutdowns, social distancing, and the overall contraction of the economy have taken their toll on traditional internships. The silver lining is that on-campus internships are convenient and flexible for students, as well as their mentors, and departments can improve their operations with well-crafted programs.   

Departments can opt to create paid or unpaid internship experiences, depending on funding availability as well as the tasks assigned to the intern. Keep in mind that an unpaid intern cannot displace a paid employee, that an internship should complement a student’s degree program, and that the internship should correspond with the academic calendar. Also remember that for internships to be official, they must comply with the regulations of both the SFA Department of Human Resources and the U.S. Department of Labor. If this sounds daunting, keep in mind that staff at HR and CCPD will gladly walk you through every step of the way.