OSLO provides intern choices

by Kane Loukas

As the labor market continues its belt-tightening, employers are renewing efforts to attract and retain the most talented college graduates.
Lately, internships have been the lure of choice. Employers are offering short-term opportunities that give students serious responsibilities and true learning experiences, not three months worth of mind-numbing filing and copying.
“Companies have come in recruiting students as early as their sophomore year,” said Sharon Kurtt, director of the Institute of Technology career services center.
Businesses have to provide outstanding internships just to stay neck-and-neck with the offers their competitors are making to students, Kurtt said. She adds that the average intern pay for IT students is about $12 per hour.
While technology students may get the sweeter deals in today’s market place, for all students at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, the internship opportunities couldn’t be better.
The regional unemployment rate is 2.4 percent, the second best among all metropolitan areas and almost half the 4.5 percent national average. This means employers are more generous with intern salaries, and more reliant on them to cover the company work load.
To help find and eventually land an internship, the University provides more than a dozen career services offices, including their flagship, the Office of Special Learning Opportunities.
OSLO, located in 220 Johnston Hall, posts more than 1,300 internships on their electronic database. Students can search through 19 categories, ranging from broadcasting to social services, and find out the pay, location and terms of the internship. However, OSLO is geared primarily toward the College of Liberal Arts, the largest on campus.
Career counselors strongly encourage other students to track down internship information in the career office specific to their major or school. For example, the Carlson School of Management, the Institute of Technology and several other schools within the University maintain internship databases and career offices tailored to their respective fields.
There is no longer any doubt as to whether internships are worthwhile, and even compulsory, for competitive students.
Harvey Sims, a veteran human resources consultant with California-based CareerLab, is a strong believer in internships.
“It goes without saying that internships are a must,” said Sims. Aside from basic job experience, he said, interning is the best way to get your foot into industries like computer science, aerospace and accounting that are “incestuous” and skeptical of job applicants without an inside connection.
A resume balanced with education and internships also gives employers a sense of security, said Camille Luckenbaugh, who works on employment studies at the National Association of Colleges and Employers.
Workplace experience assures employers that the person they’re looking to hire knows something about the real world, what it’s like to get up every morning and go to work, Luckenbaugh said.