With summer right around the corner, many students are looking for summer internships.
Internships are vital to student’s career readiness, as they teach students about both the technical and soft skills needed to compete in the workforce.
Internships also provide students with a way to explore career options and learn about different industries.
Students aren’t the only ones who benefit from internships; businesses do too.
Internships not only help build a pipeline of qualified employees, but they connect employers to students who are interested in pursuing careers in their industry.
Internships can be either paid or unpaid/for credit.
However, there are legal considerations that every for-profit company (including start-ups) must be aware of before attempting to hire unpaid/for credit interns.
The factors considered by the Department of Labor to establish an unpaid internship include, but are not limited to:
- Training, even though it includes actual operation of the employer’s facilities, must be for the benefit of the intern and be similar to training provided in an educational program. Furthermore, the training must be general and not designed specifically for a job with the employer offering the internship.
- The intern does not displace regular employees, and works under close supervision.
- The activities of trainees or students do not provide an immediate advantage to the employer. On occasion, operations may actually be impeded.
- The trainees or students are not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the training period and are free to take jobs elsewhere in the same field.
- The trainees or students are notified, in writing, that they will not receive any wages and are not considered employees for minimum wage purposes.
- Any clinical training is performed under the supervision and direction of people who are knowledgeable and experienced in the activity.
The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is currently working with Dream It, Do It to place interns from the Mayor’s Summer Youth program, and develop a college level internship program with Say Yes Buffalo that will help facilitate internships and ensure employers are able to provide the best experience.
If you have questions about starting an internship program in your office or connecting to colleges to hire for–credit interns, please contact me.