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Increasing number of employees look for students with internships

Students who take on internships during college are finding jobs after school at faster rates than students who do not, according to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

The NACE’s April report surveyed 266 employers that reported 57.7 percent of interns were hired to full-time positions in 2010, compared to 53.3 percent in 2009.

Career Center Director Drema Howard said that from July 1, 2010, to May 1, 2011, the Career Center advertised 2,498 internships in their Career Connections online job search tool, compared to 2,480 between July 1, 2009, and June 2010.

“We still have to compile data for May but we anticipate adding another 350 to 500 – plus (internships) by the end of June,” Howard said. “Even during the summer months employers seek to fill internship positions.”

Howard said an emerging trend among employers and their approach to internships is to treat them as entry-level job positions, whereas previously, “students would have internships and then move on.”

This can be due in part to employers not wanting to lose potential employees who have already proven that they can do the job well, she said.

“This is a known factor … (employers like) someone who is a contributor, who works well, who an employer has gotten along well with,” Howard said. “You’re more likely to go with that person than do a search and not know who that person will be.”

According to the NACE survey, 75.8 percent of hires drawn from an employer’s own internship or co-op program were retained, compared to 60.7 percent for hires without internship or co-op experience after one year.

Howard said unpaid internships are becoming more rare, as employers are realizing that unpaid internships offer little protection against claims of wrongdoing. She said students should be wary of any internship that does not offer work reflecting what was advertised or does not offer an enriching experience.

The Career Center works with a number of outside vendors, such as, to connect students with employers offering internships. More than 12,675 USF students are registered with, more than any other school according to Davis Public Relations President, Stacey Levy a PR representative for

Tamara Simunovic, a junior majoring in international studies, is interning this summer with the U.S. Embassy in Zagreb, Croatia. She feels internships are the best way to get started on her career path. She said this internship allows her to evaluate a potential career path.

“I always admired what diplomats that work in the embassy did and I wanted to get first-hand experience to find out if I would want to do that or if I wouldn’t like it,” she said.