Dictionary.com defines an internship as “the position of a student or trainee who works in an organization, sometimes without pay, in order to gain work experience or satisfy requirements for a qualification.” A detailed and standardized definition for what constitutes an “internship” experience does not exist.
Internships are a hot topic today, largely due to their unique ability to hold center court as the capstone experience within the work-based learning ecosystem. If an internship is the ace of real-world learning, and scale and equity matter (and they do), how do the opportunity intermediaries like us ensure fidelity – quality and outcomes – of this milestone, at scale?
We think the answer to that question lies in readiness. If students are – and can prove- that they are ready for an internship, does it matter if they have one or not?
At KCSIC, we believe an internship is a professional learning experience that offers meaningful, practical work related to a career pathway. We believe an internship should give a student the opportunity for career exploration and development, and to learn new skills. It should offer the employer the opportunity to bring new ideas and energy into the workplace, develop talent and potentially build a pipeline for future full-time employees.
We believe an internship should:
- Be paid, or eligible for high school or college credit.
- Consist of a part-time or full-time work schedule that generally includes no more than 25% clerical or administrative duties.
- Provide a clear job/project description for the work experience.
- Orient the student to the organization, its culture and proposed work assignment(s).
- Help the student develop a journey for personal transformation, and achieve learning goals.
- Offer regular feedback to the student intern.
- Take place at a quality worksite that includes:
- a caring adult who provides work-related support and feedback, and promotes development of essential skills like critical thinking, communications, proactivity and collaboration.
- a safe environment that adheres to all laws and regulations governing youth participation in the workforce, and comply with all youth safety measures.
We are here to make sure students are ready for an internship.