Lisa Katz| Crain’s Detroit Blog

Just how important is getting an internship these days? From actually getting offered the job to making more money and keeping that job for longer, internships play an important role. In 2012, surveyed more than 7,300 students and recent graduates and more than 300 employers to put some numbers around the value of an internship. The results showed that almost 70 percent of companies offer full-time positions to current interns, underscoring the role of the internship as an alternative form of interview.

Even for those not hired off the bat, the internship is a critical step in career development:  Sixty-six percent of employers said that experience, along with a good interview, were the most important factors in their hiring decisions.

Here in Southeast Michigan, the summer internship season is right around the corner.  The good news is that initiatives like Intern in Michigan have made the process of finding an internship easier than ever, but some industries have a tough time of finding young people.  According to Intern in Michigan, 12 percent of available internships are in computer science fields, but only 7 percent of students looking for internships are from the same discipline.

The technology sector has not been shy about the fact that it is struggling to find the talent it needs to be successful.  Southeastern Michigan is quickly becoming a hub for IT opportunities, and talent from across the nation need to know about all the great experiences here.  Employers are looking to make their internships an opportunity to learn about a job but also the community, weaving in social and civic experiences in hopes of attracting and retaining young talent.

Opportunity Detroit Tech, Intern in Michigan and the Workforce Intelligence Network want to support the quality and quantity of successfully filled IT internships in Southeast Michigan to help keep young workers here.   IT company leaders in charge of internships can take a survey aimed at understanding who is offering internships and how these experiences could be made more attractive to top-notch candidates.  After all, students are not the only ones being interviewed through the internship process;   the companies are getting interviewed, too.

By getting a feel for what is available, the partners can work with companies to perfect their internship programs and keep the fresh young minds filtering into the Detroit area. This will be good news for the region, which is growing tech jobs faster than tech workers, and for young people, who recognize the importance of meaningful experience to their future career prospects.

This blog post was compiled with research and content from Sarah Sebaly, Project Manager – Strategic Pathways, Workforce Intelligence Network.

internships infographic 2012 Infographic: Internships Survey and 2013 Internship Trends

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