The Internship Program at Misericordia University
The purpose of the Academic Internship Program at Misericordia University is to facilitate student learning opportunities outside the classroom. Internships offer experience-based learning that enhance students' academic and career goals. These experiences serve to provide the opportunity to apply classroom theory to "real world" situations. As an employer, you are invited to participate in the Academic Internship Program at the Misericordia University. The partnerships developed between employer and the college along with the education this program provides to students has proven beneficial to all concerned. The program is a valuable source to employers for completing special projects or obtaining additional manpower for existing projects. Our students are dedicated, bright and highly motivated. They bring new ideas and fresh insights to the workplace. Please join us in extending our students' learning experiences into the "work world.” If you would like to discuss an internship opportunity or if you would like assistance in setting up an internship program at your organization please contact 570-674-6409 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Actively participating in an academic internship benefits all parties involved; the internship provider, the student and the educational institution.
Benefits to Internship Providers:
- Creates a candidate pool for future hiring
- Provides first hand knowledge of abilities of potential future employees
- Enhances functions of the office by providing extra manpower
- Provides fresh, enthusiastic, creative, and productive employees
- Creates a way for employers to “give back” to the community
- Strengthens relationship with Misericordia University
Benefits to Intern Students:
- Provides work experience in a field of interest
- Creates a springboard from college life to career life
- Gain exposure to real-world problems and issues
- Strengthens background in field of choice
- Increases marketability to employers
- Creates the potential for future work with the company
- Provides potential work-related references
- Creates an opportunity for networking
Benefits to Department/College:
- Provides learning experiences that are more valuable than case studies and lectures alone
- Validates the college’s curriculum in a working environment
- Connects faculty to current trends within their professional field
- Creates more competitive and employable graduates
- Increases program credibility and student excellence
- Creates stronger ties with alumni
The Intern Sponsor- Reference Guide
- Preparing for the Intern
- Create an atmosphere of acceptance for the intern that invites collaboration and mentoring. Your own attitude toward this student of being a colleague will help create a receptive atmosphere. Treat the intern as a coworker and professional person.
- Your familiarity with the student's background (resume and other background data) will indicate your interest and readiness to enter a positive experience.
- Generally, the intern experience is intended to follow an observation/performance/reflection model. In this regard routine clerical assignments will not provide the kind of quality experience that is intended.
- Have copies of any pertinent training materials, policies, regulations and memoranda readily available when the intern arrives. This will demonstrate your expectation that these are important and their adherence can be readily emphasized.
- If applicable, have desk space available for the intern on their first day. This will communicate that you have significant work needing attention, and you are ready for him or her to begin work.
- If parking is an issue at your organization please advise the student where to park or make arrangements for parking before the intern’s first day.
- If an ID Badge, Building Pass or keys are necessary please provide this to the intern either prior to their first day of work or on the first day.
- The Intern Sponsor Should:
- Provide a tour of the facility.
- Introduce the intern to staff in nearby offices and department heads who will be helpful to the intern.
- Discuss the general philosophy, policies and procedures utilized in your office. If there are any regulations or emergency procedures to be followed these should be discussed as well.
- Review a general outline of the kinds of tasks the intern can expect to be assigned. You will also be asked to provide this outline to the college as well as discuss the tasks with the intern’s Faculty Advisor. You will be contacted by the Faculty Advisor at the beginning of the internship period.
- Be prepared to spend some time training the intern and allowing the intern to observe your work. A period of time during which the intern observes you and your work is not unusual. Because the intern is an emerging professional person, he or she will benefit from observations of your professional duties. Certain sensitive or confidential areas from which the intern will be excluded should be explained. A candid discussion of the level of his or her participation in staff meetings and external relations will prove helpful.
- PAID VS. NON-PAID While internships come in many shapes and sizes, one of the common questions asked by employers developing internship programs is whether the employer must pay an intern for his/her work. The answer to this lies in an analysis of the on-the-job experience the individual will have in relationship to the standards set forth under the Fair Labor Standards Act, which requires employers to pay at least the minimum wage to employees. Pursuant to this law, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has developed six criteria for identifying a learner/trainee who may be unpaid. Neither the law nor the regulatory guidance uses the term "intern." The criteria are:
While not all six factors have to be present for an individual to be considered a trainee, the experience should ultimately look more like a training/learning experience than a job. This raises the issue of the fourth criterion—that the employer derives no benefit from the student’s activities. This seems to fly in the face of contemporary practice. In the same way that a student working in a college laboratory is expected to become actively involved in the work at hand, an intern is expected to participate in the work of the company to make the experience educationally valid. Several DOL rulings, while not addressing the criteria head on, seem to suggest that as long as the internship is a prescribed part of the curriculum and is predominantly for the benefit of the student, the mere fact that the employer receives some benefit from the student’s services does not make the student an employee for purposes of wage and hour law. Other criteria that have been questioned are the payment of wages and the expectation of a job after graduation. In many cases, the employer pays a stipend to students for their meals and lodging or to assist with tuition. This is not considered payment of wages for the purpose of determining whether a student is an employee. Likewise, the fact that the employer may ultimately hire the student does not make the intern an employee as long as there was no promise of a regular full-time job made to the intern prior to or during his/her internship. Following are some points that generally hold true for meeting "trainee" criteria:
- The training, even though it includes actual operation of the employer’s facilities, is similar to training that would be given in a vocational school.
- The training is for the benefit of the student.
- The student does not displace regular employees, but works under the close observation of a regular employee.
- The employer provides the training and derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the student. Occasionally, the operations may actually be impeded by the training.
- The student is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the training period.
- The employer and the student understand that the student is not entitled to wages for the time spent training.
Can the unpaid intern be considered a volunteer for the employer? DOL regulations define "volunteer" as an individual who provides services to a public agency for civic, charitable, or humanitarian reasons without promise or expectation of compensation for services rendered. Most business internships would not fit within the definition of volunteer. A final issue is whether an unpaid intern who is an international student must claim this time as practical training time since it is unpaid. Some NACE members have suggested that if international interns are not paid, then their internships are not practical training and they do not have to claim the internships as part of their allowed 12 months of practical training time. Another suggestion is that if the training is unpaid, students do not have to seek authorization from the U.S. Immigration & Naturalization Service (INS). The practical training regulations do not speak to the question of paid or unpaid practical training. The answer is unclear at best. The employer still has to comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act before determining whether he/she should pay the intern. Also, immigration law states that if a foreign student is found to be "out of status," which could include working in practical training without the appropriate authorization, the student may be barred from re-entry into the United States for a period of five years. Thus, an employer should seek legal counsel from an immigration expert before agreeing to permit an international student to participate in an unpaid internship without receiving appropriate INS work authorization approval. (The above information came from the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Spotlight, Volume 20, Issue 15, March 16, 1998)
- The work is an integral part of the student’s course of study.
- The student will receive credit for the work or the work is required for graduation.
- The student must prepare a report of his/her experience and submit it to a faculty supervisor.
- The employer has received a letter or some other form of written documentation from the school stating that it sponsors or approves the internship and that the internship is educationally relevant.
- Learning objectives are clearly identified.
- The student does not perform work that other employees perform.
- The student is in a shadowing/learning mode.
- The employer provides an opportunity for the student to learn a skill, process, or other business function or to learn how to operate equipment.
- There is educational value to the work performed, i.e. is it related to the courses the student is taking in school.
- The student is supervised by a staff member.
- The student does not provide benefit to the employer more than 50 percent of the time.
- The employer did not guarantee a job to the student upon completion of the training or completion of schooling.
- SUPERVISING THE INTERN
- The intern is expected to keep his or her own record of duty hours, journal, etc.
- A periodic check of work assignments as to their feasibility and worth should be adequate. Your written comments will be helpful and provide the student with reference points to continue to check his or her progress.
- Compliments on work meriting praise are encouraged. By the same token, early attention to areas needing correction or improvement will help the student avoid more costly mistakes.
- As the intern increases his or her skill and confidence, and as your organizational requirements permit, increasingly professional responsibilities may be assigned.
- Toward the conclusion of the internship experience a smooth transition of responsibilities which the intern has carried will need to be delegated to other staff.
- You will be asked to complete a mid-term and a final evaluation outlining the intern’s work performance. Once the evaluations are received by the college the student’s Faculty Advisor will contact you. This discussion would be a time to bring up any personal problem areas which cannot be openly discussed with the intern. You can print a copy of the evaluation forms here: Mid-term Evaluation (pdf) and Final Evaluation (pdf).
- Unsatisfactory performances by the intern should be identified as early as possible in the intern experience. The Faculty Advisor should be apprised of unsatisfactory work.
- If there are any problems you should contact the intern’s Faculty Advisor. If you do not know the name of the intern’s faculty advisor please contact email@example.com call 570-674-6409 for that information.