Dear Editor:

More students are interning than ever before, and more employers are recognizing that internships help develop their talent pipelines. Logically, if employers want to hire and students want to be hired, then aren’t students who complete internships more likely to land a job than those who don’t?

It’s actually quite complicated – with devastating results for some.

Data from the National Association of Colleges and Employers shows otherwise. While students who complete paid internships are more likely to find jobs after graduation, students who complete unpaid internships are no more likely to find a job than those who don’t intern at all. The same data shows that women are more likely than men to complete unpaid internships and students of color are more likely to complete unpaid internships than white students. Women and students of color are sacrificing now to sacrifice again later.

How do we repair these inequities? All internships need to be paid experiences. This is why Work and Learn Indiana is matching women and students of color to paid internships through our Closing the Internship Gap program. Not only will students gain paid work experience, employers will mentor young professionals to fill the growing statewide need for diverse talent.

Closing the Internship Gap will also match women interns with women-owned businesses and students of color with minority-owned businesses. Students can then learn from employers who look like them, which is a high-impact practice needed to grow future leaders. Learn more about Closing the Internship Gap at workandlearnindiana.com.

Mike Slocum

Executive Director, Work and Learn Indiana (Indiana INTERNnet)

Indianapolis

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