Internships – Students
Internship Overview for Employers
Internships were rated by employers as one of the most effective recruiting methods for hiring new college graduates. Whether you are beginning an internship program or seeking to hire interns for your current program, we are happy to help you find qualified candidates at The University of South Florida, St. Petersburg. Please review our Internship Best Practices Guide below for information about recruiting interns at USFSP.
An internship is an opportunity to enhance classroom learning through practical experience. Internships may be full-time or part-time, depending on the employer’s needs. Most positions are for one semester, though some are designed for longer periods. Internships can be found in corporate and private businesses, government agencies and nonprofit organizations. All internships should have the common goal of providing students supervision and a chance to learn while contributing to an organization.
Employer’s Guide: Internship Best Practices
The USF St. Petersburg Career Center created the USFSP Internship Best Practices Employer Guide to provide important information about recruiting interns at USF St. Petersburg. Employers should review this document before beginning recruitment of USFSP student interns.
Employer’s Guide: Creating a Successful Internship Program
Why hire an Intern?
- Interns can assist with special events and/or short-term projects.
- Interns may offer new ideas and innovative approaches.
- Interns are typically self-motivated. They’re eager to learn and get experience!
- Supervising an intern provides your staff member an opportunity to develop supervisory skills.
- An intern can be evaluated and trained for possible future employment.
- Providing internships can be a cost-effective solution for situations not requiring long-term employment.
- An employer’s visibility on campus is increased when promoting internships.
Compensation for Interns
Employers are strongly encouraged to compensate interns through hourly wages, stipends and/or assistance with lodging expenses. Compensation varies from industry to industry. According to the U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers do not have to pay interns who qualify as trainees. However, the U.S. Department of Labor has outlined six criteria for determining whether an internship qualifies as a trainee:
- Interns work under close supervision and do not displace regular employees.
- Interns are not guaranteed a job at the end of the internship.
- Interns understand they are not entitled to wages during the internship.
- Training takes precedent over any benefits employers may receive.
- Interns’ training must primarily benefit them, not the organization.
- Interns must obtain hands-on experience similar to that in a vocational setting.
All six criteria must be met for the internship to be considered a legitimate unpaid internship. More details available in Fact Sheet #71: Internship. It is up to employers to adhere to all state and federal wage and hour laws.
Intern employers are expected to provide work experiences that are both challenging and educational. Interns should have a supervisor or mentor committed to the professional development of others. Those supervising an intern should be a specialist in the same field as the student’s field of study. A few specific expectations are:
- Assign projects that relate to the intern’s area of study.
- Outline a clear description of responsibilities.
- Provide sufficient and appropriate training.
- Facilitate an orientation to the company and its culture.
- Invite interns to get involved with company activities.
- Offer timely and regular feedback for the intern.
- Allow interns time for guided reflection before, during, and after their experience.
- If unpaid, ensure all work assigned meets the Department of Labor’s six criteria (listed above).
Employers may post internships with The University of South Florida St. Petersburg Career Center through Handshake. For unpaid internships, specific learning objectives must be provided, and employers must be FLSA compliant. Please note, the Career Center does not offer academic credit for internship experiences and several colleges and majors have specific internship requirements. Contact the Employer Relations Coordinator for more information.
Campus Location: SLC 2300
USFSP Career Center Phone: 727-873-4129
Email USFSP Career Center: email@example.com
Contact our Employer Relations Coordinator at: 727-873-4182
|Association for Experiential Education
Cooperative Education & Internship Association
|National Association of Colleges and Employers
Fact Sheet #71: Internship Programs Under the Fair Labor Standards Act