At Weber State University, many internships are offered through each department. WSU students can ask their advisers and the department heads about their opportunities.
“We have relationships with employers that we build over the years, and so, generally, here at Weber when they have an opportunity arise, then they contact us with an internship,” said Karen Doutre, career and internship coordinator in the College of Applied Science & Technology. “I then have a list of all the students in the college and I email them out that notification. The first thing they have them do is submit a resume and a cover letter, then they do initial interviews.”
The state of Utah, John Deere, Boeing and Spillman are among the companies that have offered internships through the College of Applied Science & Technology. Some companies that are looking for their summer interns announce opportunities as early as November.
“A lot of them are not called internships,” said Greg Nielson, associate director of WSU Career Services. “There are a lot of job opportunities that could be related to somebody’s major that would be kind of an informal internship. It becomes a formal internship when a student applies for it and gets academic credit for it. People that go out and already have work experience have a big advantage.”
Many interns are hired when they are juniors so that they have had some experience in their program and field. An internship can help a student see if they enjoy the field they are going into. Students can gain skills during an internship that will be valuable in future employment.
“I work specifically with the College of Health Professions, so for my students and college, it is a little bit different because they have clinical hours or preceptorship or internship hours that will come with the major,” said Shari Leder, career counselor. “But even sometimes that isn’t enough. I think getting our feet out and having an internship, whether it is paid or not, is imperative.”
Students are encouraged to look for internships within the first two years of their college experience. According to Leder, internships are available abroad or in different states that students can apply for. It can benefit students if they show they can work with a diverse population or even speak a different language.
“Internships are beneficial because they give the student the on-the-job training and the chance to investigate the company that is offering the internship,” said Barry Flitton, internship development recruiter. “My job here on campus is to go out talk to companies and encourage them to offer internships, mostly for pay, but some are not for pay.”
Some professors offer credit for particular internships. Whether an internship is offered for credit or not also depends on who the company is and what the internship is.
“Internships are a win-win for employers and students,” said Patricia Wheeler, coordinator of recruitment and career development at WSU. “Employers use a term like ‘We grow our own’ so they bring the student in, they can observe them, train them and see how they work. If it turns out to be a good match, then that student is brought on as a full-time employee when they graduate. When the market is down like it has been, it gives employers a really good way to bring in talent and test them out and know if they are going to be successful in that environment.”