Secrets of the Job Hunt


Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Internships a Concern in Dwindling Economy

In the current declining economy, many college students are worrying about the dwindling availability of internships.

According to an article by the Philadelphia Inquirer, participation in internships and co-ops nationwide has grown about 10 percent during the last five years, That means between 250,000 and 300,000 students participate in internships, and they earn between $8 and $15 per hour. Currently, about 4,000 colleges offer internship programs. However, many colleges and companies are seeing dwindling programs because of the economy.

"We're already starting to see a loss of co-op positions," Peggy Harrier, manager of the Cooperative Education & Internship Association, said in the article. "We expect a roughly 15 percent decline through the end of the academic year, particularly in the areas of manufacturing, engineering and hospitality."

On the flip side, some students are seeing the economic slowdown as an opportunity, because as companies can't afford to hire full-time workers, they may be more likely to take on interns.

Drexel University
, the area's co-op leader with 4,200 students a year participating, anticipates a 97 percent placement rate for the spring session, about the same as last year. However, the school has seen 150 fewer company postings for the next co-op session.

Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ, also is worried about internships and co-ops, as a fall seminar brought out 30 students, more than double the usual number. In Atlantic City, many hotels have frozen student hiring.

In Newtown Square, Pa., SAP America Inc., a business-software company, is planning to put its internship program on hold. This move includes eliminating paid, on-the job training for up to 100 students per year. The company usually employed about seven or eight students each semester.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, which hires about 125 students at its Philadelphia and Harrisburg offices each year, is not planning to cut internships. The company says 70 percent of its entry-level job pool comes from interns.

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