Interested in hiring an intern for your organization, and have a job description ready to go? Post the opportunity via Handshake! Employers and positions are vetted by our office before being posted, and we follow federal FLSA guidelines.
Paid vs. Unpaid Internships
In posting internship opportunities for our students, we work to ensure that federal, state, and institutional regulations are met and sustained. We value offering high-quality, career-related opportunities for our students to allow for growth in their personal career development. In addition to the need for for-profit, private sector organizations to follow the federal guidelines regarding internship compensation, we find that by offering paid internships, you are more likely to attract higher numbers of applicants, and more competitive candidates. Your organization’s offer to provide students with meaningful work related to their academic course of study, and willingness to compensate our students fairly for their work, is key in making you an employer of first choice.
In order for internships at for-profit, private sector organizations to be posted as unpaid, they must meet the following criteria put in place by the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division, Fact Sheet #71, Test for Unpaid Interns. According to the regulation, “If all of the factors listed are met, an employment relationship does not exist under the FLSA, and the Act’s minimum wage and overtime provisions do not apply to the intern.” Additional information about what constitutes an internship can be found in the NACE Position Statement on Internships.
Internships for Course Credit
The Office of Career Planning serves as a centralized resource to share internship opportunities with students. Many students participate in internship opportunities during their time at Meredith, both for course credit and on their own. Several academic departments at Meredith require students to complete an internship as part of their degree program, such as business and computer science. Course credit is coordinated between the student and their faculty internship coordinator. It is the students’ responsibility to communicate details with employers regarding what constitutes receiving course credit, and those requirements should be agreed upon by both parties. Requirements differ by academic department, and may include requirements such as setting measurable learning outcomes and providing an evaluation on behalf of the student.
Creating Internship Opportunities
When designing an internship opportunity for students, we encourage employers to provide a structure for the experience and follow these suggested guidelines (adapted from Oregon State University Career Development Center and the FAU Career Center Employer Internship Playbook):
- Create a job description with specific responsibilities and expectations listed, and identify who will serve as a direct supervisor for the student. Include clear learning objectives with specific projects/tasks, and how they will be evaluated.
- The internship experience should provide thoughtful learning opportunities and specific projects/outcomes for the student to work on, to ensure the student is gaining relevant, real-world work experience. The internship should be considered a learning experience for the student.
- Ensure an on-site supervisor with a relevant professional background who provides orientation, training, safety procedures and continual guidance as well as evaluation as appropriate.
- Consider the amount of work available, physical space available to accommodate your intern(s), and timeline for the internship (summer, fall, spring, or year-round) and set clear expectations on the duration of the experience. Consider your “peak season” — when would additional resources be most helpful to your organization?
- Provide opportunity for goal-setting, evaluation, and mentorship for the intern(s).
Experiences that do not qualify as Internships (adapted from Oregon State University Career Development Center):
- 100% commission-based positions.
- Positions that require door-to-door sales or canvassing.
- “Independent contractor” roles or “pyramid” business models.
- Telemarketing positions.
- Positions in which the intern is required to pay a fee to the employer.
Hear how Meredith students benefit from their internship experiences, and how they are applying what they’re learning in the classroom on our OCP YouTube page.