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September 29, 2009 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2009-09-29

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3 3
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1k u y
By Katharine Mitchell Daily Staff Reporter

6sumes, applications, interviews, internships, offers. That's how it used to
work. With the sunken economy and a bachelor's degree decreasing in value
with every master's degree earned, securing jobs has become a greater chal-
lenge for college graduates But with a resum6-bolstering internship that can
offer networking connections for many, the chances of landing a job become
greater. And, for some, the key to getting into that career-changing internship or program
is a fat checkbook.

Leading the trend in internships for pur-
chase, University of Dreams is a program that
places students in internship positions for the
summer - if you can find a way to pay. The
program charges between $ 5,500 and $9,500
per program depending on the location.
Eric Normington, the chief marketing offi-
cer for University of Dreams, said the cost
isn'tjust for the internship, but for the experi-
ence that goes along with it.
"It's way more than just an intern-
ship," he said.
The University of Dreams has a net-
work of employers that have been pre-
screened and with whom the company
has made long-lasting relationships.
To placestudentswiththeirideal
internship, University of Dreams
works with students individually
to match them with an employer
that meets their needs.
The cost of the program
includes housing, transportation
and career development both
before and during the intern-
ship. For some, there is also an
academic component that allows,
students to receive credit
at their respective insti-
/ tutions. But most of the
internships are unpaid,

Normington said.
"Internships are an investment," Norming-
ton said. "Having relevant work experience is
a necessity."
Normington said University of Dreams
offers both full and partial scholarships and
has a network of third parties that contribute
in helping students with financial need.
"The students that do our program are very
focused, understand that getting relevant
work experience is an investment," he said.
The University of Michigan leads program
enrollment with University of Dreams. There
is no formal advertising, though, and Norm-
ington said that as a small company, recruit-
ment is often just by word of mouth through
former participants and their families and
The Washington Center is a nonprofit
organization that places students in academic
internship experiences in the Washington,
D.C. area - and another example of how
internships are changing. The program is
the largest of its kind and offers an extensive
scholarship program.
Unlike University of Dreams, TWC stress-
es the academic component of the program as
part of its cost. A semester with TWC costs
just under $11,000 with its housing program
- however, students gain between 12 and 15
credits per semester and 9 to 12 credits per

summer term.
In addition to the internship, each student
participates in academic coursework taught
in the evenings, TWC President Mike Smith
TWC only takes applicants whose uni-
versities accept the credit earned during the
semester or summer program. Smith said
there are hundreds of affiliated colleges that
offer college credit to participate in the pro-
gram, both public and private.
TWC also offers extensive financial aid for
its programs. Between 75 and 80 percent of
participants receive some form for financial
assistance to participate. Though Smith said
about 20 percent of internships provide a sti-
pend, the majority are unpaid, which is part
of the reason why TWC works to defray many
program costs.
Smith noted that participation in the pro-
gram in on the rise - in large part because of
the economy.
"Right now, more people feel that it's
important to have an internship on their resu-
me - clearly they're right," he said.
He added that with the election of Presi-
dent Barack Obama, more students are tak-
ing an interest in coming to Washington, a
common phenomenon when the White House
changes political parties.
Smith said TWC operates similar to a uni-
versity since both are registered as nonprofit
organizations. The program has a cost, simi-

lar to tuition, along with a separate, optional
housing plan that the student can choose to
enroll in.
Students interested in interning in Wash-
ington can also go through the University's
Michigan in Washington Program. The pro-
gram is similar to study abroad and places
20 to 25 students in Washington, D.C. for a
Students in the program get course credit
and they take classes in Washington. Appli-
cations are accepted from undergraduates in
any field.
According to the program's website, about
one third of students' internships are paid.
But, because of the increased living costs, the
Michigan in Washington program costs about
$5,500 more than a semester in Ann Arbor.
There are scholarships available, though,
and student aid can be transferred to the pro-
Internships are a way to establish connec-
tions within a specified industry. Many stu-
dents use internships to build networks that
they can contact for jobs post-graduation.
Geni Harclerode, coordinator of intern-
ships and experiential learning at The Career
Center, said connections are important, but
"perhaps it's been blown out of proportion."
Harclerode said relying on connections as
the only way into a job doesn't give employers
- who comb through cover letters and resu-
mes in search of reliable candidates - enough
Harclerode said students who feel uncon-
nected to these privileged networks should
realize they already have access to a network:
the University.
The Alumni Association is a built-in net-
work of University grads, many of whom are
willingto meet with students and offer advice,
Harclerode said. She said students should
take advantage of InCircle, a University alum
social networking tool similar to Facebook,

and LinkedIn, a profes-
sional social networking
The Alumni Association
also offers mentorship rela-
tionships within its network
while hosting events periodically
that offer career advice and net-
working opportunities.
Smith said TWC's alumni have a lot
to do with the program's success. With
an alumni base of 40,000 over the past 34
years, TWC has multiple alums willing to
support the center and recommend its pro-
University of Dreams only has a 10-year
history, but Normington attributed word-of-
mouth success to the more than 7,000 alums
of the program. Normington added that pro-
gram alums are starting to give back to the
program by offering internship opportunities
available to new participants.
With the job market declining, many stu-
dents are concerned that internship positions
could decline with it.
But Smith said there's no reason to worry.
"I think there will be enough internships,"
he said. "You geta free look at an employee as
an intern. I see internships expanding and not
In fact, Harclerode said employers are
actually looking for interns. Harclerode said
hiring interns allows employers to test drive
future employees for free. Many employers
are hiring interns earlier in the year and try-
ing to convert as many of those interns to full-
time employees as possible, she said.
"One huge thing we're seeing is employers
hiring more interns," she said.


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