Internships a key part of education

The onset of spring on college campuses signals that the end of the academic year is drawing near.

However, for many students, spring semester is a spring board to summer internships. Internships for college students have been a part of the university experience in one form or another for decades, but their importance in today’s competitive work environment is growing as employers and students strive to match expectations, experience and financial investments.

Internships serve as a valuable career exploration tool for students and allow them to develop skills necessary to be successful once they enter the workforce as full-time employees.

For companies and organizations, internships allow them to make gradual investments in students; teach students about their culture and expectations; and prepare students to possibly become full-time employees with their organization or similar organizations within their industry. Many small businesses and organizations that may not be able to afford adding full-time employees can greatly benefit by employing student interns while providing valuable learning experiences for students who are talented and eager to learn.

For today’s college graduates, over 70 percent nationally are completing at least one internship before graduation and 55 percent of graduates have completed two or more. Students who do not complete an internship often find themselves at a competitive disadvantage in the job search process.

Internships for SMSU students can vary in length and structure and are often tailored to match both the needs of the employer and the expectations of the students. Many internships are also competitive in nature and include students undergoing an application and interview process as they would for full-time employment.

Opportunities for internships abound across many different geographic boundaries. SMSU students have confirmed internships as far away as Sweden, Thailand, Alaska, and Washington D.C, as well as staying home here in the Midwest.

Our students are doing internships with the Smithsonian, General Mills, Minnesota DNR, WCCO, Hilton Hotels, General Mills and Disney Resorts. While these names are large state, national, and even international companies, internships abound locally as well. ADM, Bremer Bank, Ralco, the Schwan Food Co., Avera, CHS, Maurices and the City of Marshall to name just a few, all have successful internship programs providing opportunities for SMSU students.

One of the most common requests from our students seeking internships is to find an opportunity to intern in or around the Marshall area.

A local internship allows them to stay with their current housing arrangement whether it is on campus or in the local rental market and enroll in additional coursework over the summer. These students are often the ones who have a long-term desire to stay and work in our local communities. The more internships that we can provide for these students, the greater chance we have of them becoming a long-term part of our regional workforces.

If you are interested in learning more about developing an internship to benefit your business or an organization that you are affiliated with, I would encourage you to contact the SMSU Career Services Office at 537-6221 or visit with any of our faculty in the various academic programs.

The more opportunities we create to partner SMSU with the local business community, the stronger all organizations will be.