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 enrollment growth university from HelixEducation, the best professional development podcast for higher education leaders looking to grow enrollmentat their college or university. Whether you're looking for fresh enrollment growth techniques andstrategies or tools and resources, you've come to the right place. Let's getinto the show. Welcome back to enrollment growth university, a proud member ofthe connect Du podcast network. I'm Eric Olson with Helix Education, and we'rehere today with Dr Andrew Crane, director of experiential professional development at the Universityof Georgia Graduate School. Andrew, welcome to the show. Great thanks forhaving me. Really excited to talk to you today about the internship interruption thatour students have seen during the pandemic. But before we dig in, canyou give the listeners a little bit of background on both the University of GeorgiaGraduate School and your role? They're sure.

Yeah, so, my titles directorof experiential professional development, or XPD for short, at the UJ graduateschool, so I focus on experiential learning and professional development for graduate students.We have about seven thousand graduate students and diverse disciplines here at Ega. I'vebeen doing that about three years and prior to that I've worked in talent management, sort of HR role at the university, and I've also worked for about sixyears in the undergraduate career center here. So experience kind of spans those differentareas of experiential learning and talent development. Yeah, and it is specifically thatoverlap of experience that may be so excited to chat with you. Soand you maybe to kick us off, can you just give us a highlevel background of this internship interruption that our students have experienced during this pandemic?Yeah, interruption, I think is is putting it mildly. You know,just like every other area of the pandemic, you could use a number of wordsto describe, you know, chaos, survival mode, upheaval, all thethings that have happened from an internship...

...perspective. I think, you know, it is really an area where we saw some of the major shifts thatwere happening in the labor market early on with the pandemic, and some ofthe data's coming to light now about you know, just how big those shiftswere. So the National Association for colleges and employers is, or Nice forshort, is a really great resource to learn more about this. Their datashows that last year, or seventy percent of summer, two thousand and twentyinternships were virtual. And of course we also heard a lot about internship offersbeing rescinded or students scrambling to change plans with things going going virtual. Sojust massive of people. Again, you know, we're learning more about whatthis look like. The Center for Research on college workforce transitions, CCWT,the University of Wisconsin. They just released a study that showed that only twentytwo percent of college students participated in internship and tw thousand and twenty and so, by comparison, you know, if you look at some pre pandemic numbers, data shows that sixty percent of students were completing at least one internship beforegraduating. Yeah, so you see,...

...definitely you know where this is,this gap that's showing up and up peaval, you know, again happening. Yeah, so huge downwards spike in participation. You mentioned the percentage of those thatcompleted virtual internships last summer. But why do you believe that so manyemployers were so unwilling to try to migrate and figure out remote internships last year. Yeah, I mean I don't think it's a lack of willingness or desireto provide that opportunity. You know, one of the things if you're maybenot immediately familiar with the internship it's maybe not apparent how much work goes intothose experiences. There's a lot of planning and for thought that goes into agood internship experience. So you have to have, of course, appropriate workfor the student, things that really give them exposure to what it's like tobe with that company. You have to have appropriate supervision, on boarding sortof all the all the legal and technical aspects that go into that, andthen obviously you're trying to kind of cultivate them as a talent pool to possiblyhire them. So for all this companies...

...that were struggling to even do thosesome of those things for the employees they already had right, you know,figure out how to supervise remote workers and on board full time employees if theywere hiring, it was even more challenging to do that. I think forinterns, four roles that are are temporary 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 internship programs or scaledown their internship programs and of course, some of them were able to shiftthings remotely. You mentioned this participation plummet. Of historically we might have seen sixtypercent student participation internships, down to twenty percent last year. How doyou believe that this interruption has negatively affected our students from experiential learning standpoint,from a job marketability standpoint, now that they're graduating or entering the workforce withoutthat experience? Is Sho employers always certainly know in recent years the internships havebecome more and more important to marketing yourself and the job market, and Ithink we're just now starting to see,...

...you know, what the implications ofthat will be. Of course, folks know that we all just went througha pandemic and that that this interruption happened. So I think reading a resume arewilling to take that into account. But there's data to suggest now thatthe two thousand and twenty one graduates are competing with a sort of backlog oftalent from the class of two thousand and twenty that maybe didn't enter into theworkforce or entered into positions that they wanted as far as their entry level launchingtheir careers. So you know, there's a certain even though there's a bigdemand for hire right now, there's also a lot of competition for those entrylevel jobs. I think that's a concern. Turn in with the remote work opportunities, with internships that were happening virtually there's also in the research that suggeststhat those opportunities maybe weren't as effective at helping students network, given them thetype of project experience that they normally would have had to prepare for fur theircareers and in many cases, that those...

...opportunities weren't as accessible to some ofthe most minoritized students, you know, low incomes students, racial minorities,you know, those kind of groups that maybe have more bearers to begin with. So all of those things, I think, our potential negative impacts forstudents that are navigating the job market right now. You mentioned how many employerswere maybe resistant to maintain internships, not because of a lack of desire,put a lack of believing they could provide when win experience and how often theseemployers are now looking at these internships to to find new talent to build theirtalent pipelines? Do we have a sense for how much that side of theinterruption has occurred? As you mentioned, for a lot of positions right nowit is extraordinarily tight to find good talent for employers that have seen their talentpipeline diminish because of these internships. Or maybe the question is at do webelieve that that is true, that employers have seen the hits because of thisinternship interruption? So what we're seeing now...

...is against some of the initial datafrom nace does suggest that there were companies that reduced the number of interns seatsthat they offered or again put press pause on their program but what's interesting isthat we actually are also seeing data that shows that the number of offers forinterns was up and the number of conversions from interns into full time hires wasup. So that really suggests that the companies that did continue their programs reallydo see a high value in internships as a talent pipeline and a way tokind of sustain their business model, and I think that's that's true. Movingforward. But the other really interesting thing about internships is that increasingly at thehiring level, internships have become even more competitive in terms of their recruitment process. So some companies will spend eight or nine months, you know, recruitingfor their internship programs. They might start in the fall or even earlier forinternships the following summer. Sometimes they court...

...students for multiple years during their timein school. So all of this, of course means that there's a bigdisruption with the pandemic and those models that have been developed over the past ten, twenty years are now getting flipped on their head. And I think theother interesting thing to keep an eye on is this phenomenon of the great resignationand lots of folks are moving around even beyond the entry level jobs. ButI think that's really going to stretch the folks that are in the hiring roles, the talent management folks and recruiting folks, to really try to address all thoseneeds that are emerging. And then the last thing that's kind of interestingto think about is with remote work interns, entry level hires, I think,typically are seen as maybe a useful talent pool because they're able to moveand are more flexible. But with more folks working remotely and more jobs beingremote, I think there could also be more competition there because there's a,you know, a larger talent pool when you're recruiting formote positions. Yeah,all really interesting and nervousing factors. I...

...think one of the things that I'mthe most concerned about is I've seen higher I do such a good job payingmore attention to workforce development, toward local employer partnerships and relations. I'm curiousif you share that concern that these beautiful experience of learning and work, morecivilian partnerships that we've worked to create during these last few years are are goingto dissolve or not come back as strongly because they've been so deeply interrupted.Yeah, I mean I think that's definitely a concern. And not only havehiring models then disrupted, but business models overall have been disrupted, and socompanies that maybe were supporting universities and students with with resources, you know,for example offering paid internships. There's data to suggest that there have been moreunpaid internships over the past two year and so I think that's a major concernbecause those types of opportunities tend to also might be as beneficial on the flipside of things, just to, I...

...guess, look at the silver lining, and this has been the case in my own experience. The all thedisruption of the past year also sort of gave us some extra license to pilotsnew things and to experiment and to, you know, just just try toinnovate some of the traditional models of experience and learning. It remains to beseen, I think you know, how well some of those things, likethe remote internship, will persist, but I do think that there are alsomaybe cases where relationships have been strengthened by kind of this shared experience of living, living through the chaos together. Yes, really strong thoughts and I love tryingto land us on that silver lining of hope Andrew potentially. Finally,can you leave us with some next step advice? PRI institutions that are excitedto get back to whatever a returned or improved normalcy in terms of student participationin internships, and if we're really trying to help facilitate a strong and safereturn of these internships this fall with our local employers, how should we dothat? Where should we start first? Yeah, I think that flexibility isgoing to remain key. In many cases,...

I think higher education is leading thecharge to try to return to normal and do everything in person again,and certainly there are a lot of companies that want to do that as well. But there are a lot of companies that are also on a longer timelineto return to in person recruitment and work and those kind of things. Andso, you know, we may need to be even more adaptable, evenmore than last year. You know, we're we just did everything remotely.We may have to offer more recruitments and networking activities that are hybrid or,you know, kind of duel in person and remote opportunities to connect. Andin some 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 do thingsvirtually in a way that's, you know, effective for all everyone to engage.So I think that flexibility is key and we also don't know what's goingto happen when students come back to campus. So there may be pivots for careerfairs and Events and things like that that are are necessary and I thinkjust an additional layer of support is something...

...to think about to you, forboth employers and for students. You know, so on many campuses. I knowcare offices are already stretched then, but they may have higher than usualdemands right now in terms of coaching students through this unusual landscape, even morecoaching with alumni who are still out there looking for their first job or undergoingtransitions, and employers who are trying to figure out how us to engage.And I think it's important to also remember that many of the Career Offices thatare coaching students also do a lot of coaching with employers on how to engagewhere, where and when to engage and connecting with the right partners on campus. So be kind of those folks and supports that wherever you can. Ithink it would be my end into message about that. Andrew, thanks somuch for your time today. What's the best place for listeners to learn moreif they have any follow up questions? Yeah, so, my email addressis a crane acre aim at UJA DOT EEDU and again I'm in the Universityof Georgia Graduate School. If you Google...

...you GA XPD. My information ison our kind of our landing page for the programs that I run as well. So Awesome, Andrew, thanks so much for joining us today. Yeah, thanks for having me. Attracting today's new post traditional learners means adopting newenrollment strategies. Helix educations data driven, enterprise wide approach to enrollment growth isuniquely helping colleges and universities thrive in this new education landscape, and Helix hasjust published the second edition of their enrollment growth playbook with fifty percent brand newcontent on how institutions can solve today's most pressing enrollment growth challenges. Downloaded todayfor free at Helix Educationcom. Playbook. You've been listening to enrollment growth universityfrom Helix Education. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe tothe shown itunes or your favorite podcast player.

Thank you so much for listening.Until next time,.

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