According to a report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, about 60 percent of 2011′s summer hires and interns became full-time employees. That is an all-time high. In today’s difficult job market, summer internships are becoming increasingly important as a first rung on the professional ladder.
Record hires driven by economy
The record high number of hires is likely driven, at least in part, by the poor economy. Once offered a job, few interns are in a position to turn it down. But that same hunger may also drive some interns to excel, prompting more job offers.
Nicole Williams, of the professional networking site LinkedIn, said:
“In today’s economy, employers are not as ready to take on full-time hires yet, but they are willing to try interns for a time.”
In fact, some job-creators are committing to it. The U.S. Department of Labor is partnering with more than three dozen companies and non-profits to create the Jobs+ program. The business entities pledged to the program have agreed to create more than 180,000 summer jobs for 2012.
The federal agency is working to recruit more companies into the program.
According to Alison Doyle of About.com, college students seeking a summer internship should begin the search at their own campuses:
“It is important to visit your college’s Career Services or Internship Programs office. … The office can direct you to internships targeted specifically towards students from your college.”
And for internship-seekers who have already graduated, there are many online resources for finding internships in your area. One such resource is the website InternWeb.
Many corporations will be offering internships this summer to ambitious young people. And, as we have seen, companies are putting interns into full-time positions at record rates.
AT&T says it will be bringing in about 600 young adults this summer to handle various tasks. It says about half of those internships could lead to regular positions.
The telecommunication giant offers a robust, hands-on intern experience. Each intern is assigned a mentor, is given regular feedback and has the opportunity to shadow company executives.
Eric Threlkeld, associate director of national college recruiting for AT&T, said:
“We wanted the internship experience to be something more than getting coffee and making copies.”
Paying summer jobs
UPS says it is committed to hiring young workers this summer for entry-level packing and loading positions. The company’s spokeswoman, Susan Rosenberg, said that the jobs will start becoming available in May. These may not be high-powered corporate stepping stones, but Rosneberg says hires will learn valuable job skills they can carry to future positions, such as “how to interact in a work environment, report on time and develop a work ethic.”
Jamba Juice is also committed to putting more young people to work this summer. It says it will hire more than 2,500 people between the ages of 18 and 24 to man its juice and smoothie stands during peak months.
Company spokeswoman Janice Duis said the company will likely hire more than that amount, and some hires could be promoted into managerial positions.
Duis also said that hiring will be on-going:
“We will hire throughout the summer. And if one store isn’t hiring, there’s typically another store that is two to five miles away.”