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How to create value in an internship program?

Alicia Phan
Alicia Phan asked

Hello, I am currently helping with the creation of a new centralized internship program. What are some benefits in utilizing a centralized internship program instead of having each department continue managing their own internship programs? In addition, other than gaining extra help, and helping students gain professional experience, what are other ways an internship program can provide value to interns, supervisors, and the organization? Thank you.


Alexa Martin

Maryjo Zunk at Arizona State University's School of Public Affairs would be an excellent resource on building a value-laden graduate internship.
Her contact information is available here:
Hope this helps!

Robert Carty

This may help, but ICMA has an internships guide that has some good information on creating internships at

I think benefits of a centralized internship program include the following:
- Building a network/friendships among the interns themselves
- Providing an opportunity to have training/professional development for the interns together (more easily than if they are in separate departments)
- Job-sharing, or having many interns work on one larger project, or allowing them to "ramp-up" if a project needs more people for a short time
- They can help each other solve problems; there is a large focus on teamwork in grad school, and modeling that at work can take advantage of/reinforce this training and get more minds on a problem. They can also learn from each other.
- When new projects or needs come along, you can always go over to the "intern squad" like a skunk-works. "We have this new project...who's in?"
- Their teamwork/togetherness will help create bonds and support that will help them when they need to present projects before council, department heads, etc.

Those are some thoughts!

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8 Mar 17
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