The Pandemic’s Internship Interruption

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Dr. Andrew Crain, Director of Experiential Professional Development at The University of Georgia Graduate School joined the podcast to discuss the student effects of the past year’s internship interruption and how higher ed can facilitate a strong and safe return of our workforce development partnerships this fall.

Even though there's a big demand forhiring right now, there's also a lot of competition for those entry level jobs.I think that's a concern. You're, listening to enrolment growth,university from helix education, the best professional development podcastfor higher education leaders looking to grow in roman at their college oruniversity, whether you're looking for fresh and roman growth techniques andstrategies or tools and resources. You've come to the right place. Let'sget into the show, welcome back to an roman growthuniversity, a proud member of the connect e du podcast network, i'm ericwilson with helic education and we're here today with doctor andrew crane,director of experiential professional development at the university ofgeorgia graduate school andrew welcome to the show great thanks for having mereally excited to talk. You today about the internship interruption that ourstudents have seen during the pandemic. But before we dig in, can you get thelisteners a little bit of background on both the university of georgia graduateschool in your world? There sure yeah,...

...so my titles, director of experientialprofessional development or x, bd for short at the uj graduate school. So ifocus on experiential learning and professional development for graduatestudents. We have about seven thousand graduate students in diversedisciplines here, uga i've been doing that about three years and prior tothat. I've worked in talent, management, sort of an hr role at the university,and i've also worked for about six years in the undergraduate first cinterhere. So my experience kind of spans those different areas of experientiallearning and tell development yeah, and it is specifically that overlap ofexperience that made me so excited to chat with you so and you maybe to kickus off. Can you just give us a high level background of this internshipinterruption that our students have experienced during this pandemic? Yeahinterruption, i think, is, is putting it mildly. You know just like at everyother area of the pandemic, you could use a number of ford to describe. Youknow chaos, survival, mood, upheaval, all the things that have happened from an internship perspective. I thinkyou know it is really an area where we...

...saw some of the major shifts that werehappening in the labor market early on with the pandemic and some of the datascome into light. Now about you know just how big those shifts were, so thenational association for colleges and employers is or nice for short, is areally great resource to learn more about this. Their data shows that lastyear, over seventy percent of summer, two thousand and twenty internshipswere virtual and of course, we also have heard a lot about internshipoffers being resented or students scrambling to change plans with thingsgoing going, virtu. So just massive up people again, you know we're learningmore about what this look like. The center for research on college work,force, transitions, c, cwt, the university of wisconsin. They justreleased a study that showed that only twenty two percent of college studentsparticipated in internship in two thousand and twenty, and so bycomparison you know, if you look at some pre pandemic numbers data showsthat sixty percent of students were completing at least one internshipbefore graduating, and so you see...

...definitely you know where this is thisgap, that's showing up and a pepa. You know again happening yeah, so hugedownwards, like in participation, you mentioned the percentage of those thatcompleted virtual internships last summer, but why do you believe that somany employers were so unwilling to try to migrate and figure out remoteinternships? Last year? Yeah i mean, i don't think it's a lack of willingnessor desire to provide that opportunity. You know one of the things if you'remaybe not immediately familiar with an internship. It's maybe not apparent howmuch work goes into those experiences. There's a lot of planning andforethought. That goes into a good internship experience, so you have tohave, of course, appropriate work for the student things that really givethem exposure to what it's like to be with that company. You have to have anappropriate supervision on boarding sort of all all the legal and technicalaspects that go into that and then obviously you're trying to kind ofcultivate them as a talent pool to possibly hire them so for all thosecompanies that were struggling to even...

...do those some of those things for theemployees they already had right. You know figure out how to supervise remoteworkers and on board full time employees if they were hiring. It waseven more challenging to do that. I think for interns for roles that aretemporary by nature yeah, so you know a lot of companies. I think just you know,depending on who they were maybe decided to pause their internshipprograms or scale down their internship programs and, of course some of themwere able to shift things remotely. He mentioned this participation plummet ofhistorically, we might have seen sixty percent student participation, enterinships, town at twenty percent. Last year, how do you believe that thisinterruption has negatively affected our students from a experientiallearning standpoint from a job marketability standpoint, not thatthey're graduating or entering the workforce? Without that experience,istia employers always certainly know. In recent years the internships havebecome more and more important to marketing yourself and the job market s,and i think we're just now starting to...

...see you know what the indications ofthat will be. Of course, folks know that we all just went through apandemic in that that this interruption happens. So i think, reading a resumeare willing to take that into account, but there's data to suggest now thatthe two thousand and twenty one graduates are competing with a sort ofbacklog of of talent, from the the cost of two thousand and twenty that maybedidn't enter into the workforce or entering into positions that theywanted. As far as their entry level, you know launching their careers, soyou know there's a certain, even though there's a big demand for hiring rightnow, there's also a lot of competition for those entry level jobs. I thinkthat's a concern in with the remote work opportunities with internshipsthat were happening virtually there's also in a research that suggests thatthose opportunities may be weren't as effective at helping students network,given them the type of project experience that they they normallywould have had to prepare for their careers and in many cases that thoseopportunities were as accessible to...

...some of the most minorities students.You know low income students, racial minorities, you know those kind ofgroups that maybe have more bearers to begin with. So all of those things, ithink, are potential negative impacts for students that are navigating thejob market. Right now you mentioned how many employers were maybe resistant tomaintain internships, not because of a lack of desire or put a lack ofbelieving they could provide when, when experience and how often theseemployers are now looking at these internships to find your talent tobuild their talent pipe lines, do we have a sense for how much that side ofthe interruption has occurred? As you mentioned for a lot of positions rightnow, it is extraordinarily tight to find good talent for employers thathave seen their talent pipe line diminish because of these internships,or maybe the question is, do we believe that that is true? That employers haveseen the hit because of the intership...

...interruption? So what we're seeing nowis again. Some of the initial data from days does suggest that there werecompanies that reduced the number of intern seats that they offered or againput press pause on their program. But what's interesting is that we actuallyare also seeing data that shows that the number of offers for interns was upin the number of conversions from interns in full time. Hires was up sothat really suggests that the companies that did continue their programs reallydo see a high value in internships as a talent, pie, pine and a way to kind ofsustain their business model, and i think that's that's true moving forward.But the other really interesting thing about internships is that increasingly,at the hiring level, internships have become even more competitive in termsof the recruitment process. So some companies will spend eight or ninemonths you know recruiting for their internship program, as they might startin the fall or even earlier for...

...internships the following summer.Sometimes they court students for multiple years during their time inschool. So all of this of course means that there's a big disruption with thepandemic and those models that have been developed over the past ten twentyyears or are now getting flipped on their head, and i think that aninteresting thing to keep an eye on is this phenomenon of the greatresignation and lots of folks are moving around even beyond the entrylevel jobs. But i think that's really going to stretch the folks that are inthe hiring roles, the talent management folks and the recruiting folks toreally try to dress all those needs that are emerging and then the lastthing that's kind of interesting to think about is with promote work intern to entry level. Hirers, i think, typically are seen as maybe a usefulterrepleine they're able to move and are more flexible, but with more folksworking remotely more jobs being remote. I think there could also be morecompetition there, because there's a you know: a larger acount pool whenyou're recruiting ferment positions yeah all really interesting and nervousin factors. I think one of the things...

...that i'm the most concerned about is isi've, seen hired, do such a good job, paying more attention to work, force,development toward local employer partnerships and relations. I'm curiousif you share that concern that these beautiful experience of learning andwork worse, velint partnerships that we've worked to create during theselast few years are going to dissolve or not come back as strongly becausethey've been so deeply interrupted. Yeah i mean, i think, that's definitelya concern and not only have hiring models then disrupted, but businessmodels over all have been disrupted and so companies that maybe were supportinguniversities and students with with resources. You know, for example,offering paid internships they're data to suggest that there have been moreunpaid internships over the past year, and so i think, that's a major concern,because those types of opportunities tended also not be as beneficial on theflip side of things just to y. I guess...

...look at the silver lining, and this hasbeen the case in my own experience. The all the disruption of the past yearalso sort of gave us some extra license to pilots and new things and toexperiment and to you know, just just try to innovate, some of thetraditional models of experience from learning it remains to be seen. I thinkyou know how well some of those things like the remote internship will persist,but i do think that there are also maybe cases where relationships havebeen strengthened by kind of this. A shared experience of living livingthrough the chaos together, yes, really strong thoughts, and i love trying toland us on that silver lining of hope, hander. Potentially. Finally, can youleave us with some next stept advice, prince tution that are excited to getback to whatever a returned or improved normally in terms of studentparticipation in internships, and if we're really trying to help facilitatea strong and safe return of these internships, this fall with our localemployers. How should we do that? Where should we start? First yeah? I thinkthat...

...flexibility is going to remain key inmany cases. I think higher education is leading the charge to try to return tonormal and do everything in person again, and certainly there are a lot ofcompanies that want to do that as well. But there are a lot of companies thatare also on a longer time, one to you, return to in person, recruitment andwork and those kind of things, and so you know we may need to be even moreadaptable even more than last year. You know we just did everything remotely.We may have to offer more recruitment and network activities that are hybridor you know, kind of dual in person and remote opportunities to connect and insome ways there's benefits to that right. You can, you can recruit andconnect beyond just your local market in some cases, if you're able to dothings virtually in in a way, that's you know effective for all everyone toengage. So i think that flexibility is keyed and we also don't know, what'sgoing to happen when students come back to campus, so there may be pivots forcareer fairs and events, and things like that that aren't necessary, and ithink just an additional layer of...

...support is something to think about toyou, for both employers and for students. You know so on many campuses.I know career offices are already stretched then, but they may havehigher than usual demands right now in terms of coaching students, throughthis unusual landscape, even more coaching with alumni, who are still outthere, looking for their first job or undergoing transitions and employerswho are trying to figure out how best to engage- and i think it's importantto also remember that many of the career offices that are coachingstudents also do a lot of coaching with employers on how to engage where, whereand when, to engage and connected with the right partners on campus so be kindof those books and support that wherever you can. I thinkit would be my end in message about that and your thanks. So much for yourtime today, what's the best place for listeners to learn more, if they haveme follow up questions yeah. So my email address is a crane, a c r, a inat uga, dot, edu and again, i'm in the...

...university of georgia graduate school.If you, google, uga bd, my information is on our kind of our landing page forthe program that i run as well, so awesome, and you thanks so much forjoining us today. Yeah thanks for having me attracting today's new post,traditional learners means adopting new enrolment strategies. Helic educationsdata driven enterprise, wide approach to enrolment growth is uniquely helpingcolleges and universities thrive in this new education, landscape and helixhas just published the second edition of their enrollment growth playbook,with fifty percent brand new content on how institutions can solve today's mostpressing androma growth challenges download it today for free at heloseducation com play book, you've been listening to enrolmentgrowth university from helic education to ensure that you never miss anepisode subscribe to the show in itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thankyou so much for listening until next...

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