National Intern Day Is July 28

Check out these ideas for creating a program that adds value

Kathy Gurchiek By Kathy Gurchiek July 19, 2022

​Is your organization thinking of creating an internship program—or improving upon the one it already has?

Take inspiration from a list of the top 100 internship programs, compiled by WayUp, a job posting platform aimed at early-career candidates. Last year's list included Mars candy company in McLean, Va.; IBM in Armonk, N.Y.; and BD, a multinational medical technology company in Franklin Lakes, N.J.

IBM made the list for its program that features an intern radio show. Interns host a weekly show on the IBM station, interviewing their peers, speaking with special guests and talking about their favorite beats.

Interns at Mars created a new product while helping to reduce the company's carbon footprint by incorporating ingredients such as coco fibers that otherwise would go to waste. And at BD, interns visited manufacturing plants where life-saving products are created; went to research and development labs; met with leadership in marketing, quality and medical segments; and shared their innovative ideas with the CEO. All companies on the list paid their interns.

WayUp launched National Intern Day in 2015, and it will be observed this year on July 28. SHRM Online collected the following resources and news articles about launching a program that adds value to your organization and its interns, as well as factors to consider that could be keeping interns away from your organization. 

Creating an Internship Program

HR's role concerning internship programs depends on the situation. If an organization has no internship program, then HR's first task is to convince upper management of the wisdom of establishing one. Making that case will entail coming up with some specifics on organizational needs, wages, hours, policies, legal issues and metrics.

With established internship programs, the specifics will center on the quality of the experience for the interns and the strategic benefits for the employer over the long term.

(SHRM Express Requests

15 Best Practices for Internship Programs

Providing interns with real work is No. 1 to ensuring your program's success. Interns should be doing work related to their college major, that is challenging and that is recognized by the organization as valuable.

(National Association of Colleges and Employers

How to Start an Internship Program at Your Company

Lauren Berger, founder and CEO of Intern Queen, Career Queen, and the IQ Agency offers employers eight recommendations for launching an internship program.

(Intern Queen

First-Generation College Students Need Internship Guidance

Jim Mourey was a first-generation student in 2004, studying marketing and international business at Washington University in St. Louis. As a rising senior, he wasn't sure how to land an internship.

"I didn't know how the game was played," recalled Mourey, who is now an associate professor of marketing at DePaul University in Chicago with a doctoral degree in marketing. He also is a professor for, which offers online university-level courses with semester credits that are transferrable to other colleges and universities, subject to those institutions' review and approval. 

(SHRM Online

[SHRM members-only resource: Student & Emerging Professional Resources]  

Fact Sheet #71: Internship Programs Under the Fair Labor Standards Act

This provides general information to help determine whether interns and students working for for-profit employers are entitled to minimum wages and overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

(U.S. Department of Labor

Don't Just Pay Interns, Help Them Build Networks

Simply paying an intern isn't enough to jumpstart a career. In a labor market where an estimated half of jobs come through networks, social capital remains the other key currency for getting ahead. Diversifying access to internships as an inroad to not just compensation, but also connections, is essential. There are four research-backed strategies for creating the conditions for this kind of equity in network building.

(Harvard Business Review

For Students, Cost of Living Figures into Internship Decisions

This summer, in-person internships are largely back, but some students say the costs of moving temporarily to an expensive city are too high.

Many companies are paying interns in order to compete for talent and ensure opportunities don't go solely to those who can afford to work for little or no compensation. Yet some students and employers say stipends and wages don't go as far as they did a year ago.

(The Wall Street Journal)



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