Community Engagement and Career Development

Internship Resources for Business and Community Partners

What is an Internship?

An internship is a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting. Internships give students the opportunity to gain valuable applied experience and make connections in professional fields they are considering for career paths; and give employers the opportunity to guide and evaluate talent. [Source: NACE]

An academic internship includes a learning plan that is structured into the internship, including objectives, reflection and assessment.  The experience balances the goals of the student intern with the work the business or other organization needs.  Academic Internships are normally part of an educational program and involve the awarding of academic credit.  At USM, most academic internships are run through our departments, and student intern placements occur in the context of a course.

Non-academic internships also involve learning, but this learning is not integrated into an academic course or other university learning experience.  These internships should most often be paid (unless at a non-profit), at competitive rates.  In fact, according to industry benchmarks, 97.5% of internships were paid in 2014, at an average rate of $16.35 an hour.

 

What are the rules?

Federal and other Guidelines on Internships:

Internship Programs under the Fair Labor Standards Act (information on paid vs. unpaid internships and other legal requirements for internships in for-profit organizations)

Guide to Ethical and Legal Standards in Student Hiring (information on standards for internship placements and hiring)

 

What are the best practices?

15 Best Practices for Internship Programs (Excerpt from NACE, National Association of Colleges and Employers)

 

NACE Criteria for an Experience to Be Defined as an Internship

  1. The experience must be an extension of the classroom: a learning experience that provides for applying the knowledge gained in the classroom. It must not be simply to advance the operations of the employer or be the work that a regular employee would routinely perform.
  2. The skills or knowledge learned must be transferable to other employment settings.
  3. The experience has a defined beginning and end, and a job description with desired qualifications.
  4. There are clearly defined learning objectives/goals related to the professional goals of the student’s academic coursework. 
  5. There is supervision by a professional with expertise and educational and/or professional background in the field of the experience.
  6. There is routine feedback by the experienced supervisor.  
  7. There are resources, equipment, and facilities provided by the host employer that support learning objectives/goals. 

How do I advertise my organization’s available internships?

We encourage organizations to extend their reach to the widest possible pool of student interns through our on-line recruiting data-base, USMCareerConnections: https://usm-maine-csm.symplicity.com/employers/.  If you would like help with posting to the internships board, please email Travis Blair at travis.blair@maine.edu.  Whether you post the opportunity yourself or send it to us directly, we will also distribute your internship opportunity through a variety of other methods including our website and bulletin board, weekly e-mails, and notifying relevant departments.

Companies in the Greater Lewiston-Auburn area:

USM's LAC campus is located right in Auburn and so USM is a perfect school to recruit interns from if your company is located in this area.  Although any internship posted to our USMCareerConnections site will automatically go to students at all campuses, if you are interested in speaking directly with our Coordinator of Internships at the LAC Campus, her name is Sandi Croft and her e-mail is scroft@maine.edu.

What if I am interested in exploring an academic internship relationship with one of your departments?

We have many different levels of relationships between our academic internship courses and partners in the community, and as Maine's Metropolitan University, we truly value these connections.  In some cases, the department may provide you with a range of interns to choose from each semester.  In others, a suitable candidate may come along sporadically.

The requirements of these internships vary by department, but have a strong focus on meeting the learning goals of the student, and supervision from the host site.  The student gains varying levels of academic credit depending on the number of hours.  There is a significant amount of contribution from the host site.  We encourage you to review this resource: the Internship Bill of Rights, to get an idea for the type of environment expected at an internship host site.

Some standard documentation you may need to fill out includes:

  • Learning Agreements signed by the student, site supervisor and faculty
  • Site Supervisor Evaluation Form, to be completed at the end of the internship

A site visit may also be helpful, depending on the circumstances.  If you think this would be a good fit for you, the first step is to send your internship description to Travis Blair at travis.blair@maine.edu, including the departments or areas of study that it relates to.  Then we will coordinate with our contacts in those departments, who will reach out to you to begin the process.

 

Additional Resources:

 

Who can help me with more information?

Please contact our Coordinator of Internships, Travis Blair, at travis.blair@maine.edu.  I will be more than happy to help.