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Need a new jobs’ angle? Find stories in the internship market


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Looking for a fresh take on the jobs-outlook-for-grads story?  Consider a look at internships, which variously function as resume-building real-life exposure for students, a stepping stone to a full-time job for degree-holders and a source of affordable labor for small businesses. 

According to the recent 2012 Internship and Co-op Survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, hiring of interns is expected to rise this year by 8.5 percent.  Reuters reports that General Electric plans to boost its intern ranks to 5,000 this year, and that Chrysler will bump its roster of interns from about 250 to 400.  Why not poll employers in your area about available internships for a go-to package that will help students and grads in your market?

A number of online internship directories exist. This one at Internships.com boasts more than 60,000 listings and is searchable by geographic area, so you can zero in on positions in your locale.  (Or, perhaps your story can focus on the choicest internships in a particular industry – say, the 20 most-coveted posts in the health care industry, or law, or advertising – whatever you cover.)  And as you might imagine, internship apps abound – here’s a review of some top apps by App0licious.

Another idea: Talk with young workers about the internships that helped them the most in their professional development and/or their job search; find them via industry, trade and professional groups, through social networking or via alumni and special-interest groups tied to area colleges.  What were the pitfalls, the benefits and how can this year’s interns make the most of the short-term assignments?

If you’re pulling together a package on internships, some other ideas would include caveats to avoid internship scams.  And a round-up of rules regarding pay and benefits for interns couldn’t hurt. Check out the U.S. Department of Labor’s fact sheet on the subject. This Atlantic Wire story about internship lawsuits also is helpful background reading.

With intern hiring rising, why not locate some candidates before the fact and ask them to blog or keep a video diary of their experience on your news organization’s website.  I suppose candor might backfire, but some brave or brash souls might be willing to give it a try.

Meanwhile, take a view of the intern scene from the hiring point of view.  Are a wider array of small businesses concocting summer internships as a way of affording extra help?  An article in the monthly magazine of the National Federation of Independent Business, a lobbying group for small business owners, seems to indicate that.  “Why an internship program may be a solution to your human resources needs” offers the notion as a solution for entrepreneurs and small businesses, and links to a site called InternProfits that sells tools and tips on creating an internship program and related topics.  You could round out your  package with tips for employers from consultants like that as well as legal and human resources pros. 

In Beats, Economy, Featured, Manufacturing | Large companies, Small | Private | Non-profit, Story ideas.

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