An internship is a full-time or part-time work experience in which a student works in an organization and role that is related to his or her area of study. For our CALS students who will be starting school in the spring, they may complete the internship over the course of the summer and/or fall. We require students to work at least 320 hours to be eligible for course credit for their internship.
Why should I hire an incoming CALS student?
Incoming CALS students are motivated to learn and become active participants in their industry. Hiring a student will help that individual prepare to enter your industry in the future. It will also provide you with additional help for everyday needs or special projects.
Do I have to pay my intern?
We recommend that employers pay interns to ensure compliance with the law and to establish adequate student interest for your position. Unpaid internships must comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act. Check out the Department of Labor’s guidelines on internships under the Fair Labor and Standards Act. The vast majority of internships in agriculture are paid.
How do I create a good internship program?
Here are some tips for developing outstanding experiential learning programs:
- Provide challenging work assignments – Modern internships are more than just fetching coffee. They provide interns with meaningful work and training. Give your interns broad experiences across many areas of your organization so they may learn as much as possible.
- Create a supportive work environment – Encourage questions and spend time training the student for the work they’re doing.
- Clearly state expectations – Let interns know at the beginning what you expect and how they should perform. As much as possible, try to create a schedule ahead of time to let them know what they will be doing throughout the internship.
- Active supervision and mentoring – Make sure interns have ready access to their supervisor, and that the supervisor takes a proactive approach to training and guidance. Students are often intimidated to ask questions of older professionals, so it’s important their supervisor doesn’t wait for the student to communicate their needs.
- Opportunities to interact with a variety of employees – Socialization will be important for interns, especially as they may not feel comfortable being surrounded by employees who are much older. Be sure they’re introduced and are encouraged to interact with many different employees so they can create a network of supporters and learn from those in a variety of positions.
- Inclusion in meetings or events, when possible – Allow the intern to see all aspects of the business and help them feel like a contributing member of the organization by including them as much as possible. This will greatly enhance their learning and motivation.
- Housing assistance or guidance, if out of town – If the student does not live nearby, help them find housing. Many organizations also sponsor or subsidize housing costs for non-local interns.
Interested in setting up an internship program? Have questions?
Contact CALS Career Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-515-9705.