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Internship Challenges and Policy Recommendations

Internships are a valuable way for students to gain critical skills and explore their career aspirations more fully. Research recently completed by American Student Assistance® (ASA) found that 85 percent of employers consider past internships as relevant work experience when considering applicants for full-time employment, and approximately one-third of employers offer their interns full-time positions. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, a college internship increases a student’s earning potential by about $2,000 once they enter the job market.

While internships provide great opportunities for students to experience the real-world job market and train for future employment, access to high-quality, paid internships is unequal, with student demand for internships far outpacing supply. Further, many employers struggle with the intern recruitment and management process – with small companies struggling the most.

Policies at the state and/or federal level are needed to:
1. Encourage additional government investment in internships as a practical workforce development strategy;
2. Make internships more broadly available and accessible to students;
3. Decrease the financial and administrative burden of internships on employers.

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