Spotlight for Career Services Professionals
For the spring 2020 semester, the Rutgers Business School (RBS) had 166 students with an internship. The staff of the RBS Office of Career Management was in contact with each student to confirm his or her working status, and the school relaxed some of its requirements to enable internships to be completed.
“We are accepting work from home during this time as credit toward the required hours worked,” explains James King, who serves as senior director of the office.
“For those that were under way and then got cancelled, we are accepting 80 percent of the required hours as long as all the required reporting is completed. With these adjustments, all students were able to complete the internship by working remotely or already had enough working hours to complete the requirements for credit.”
King points out that RBS career management is considering options for the summer, but that it has agreed to accept remote working arrangements. For students whose internships have been cancelled and who need the summer internship to graduate this year, King and his staff are working with the academic departments to provide alternative experiential learning opportunities, such as summer projects.
King says that this is a fluid situation.
“Most large employers are working to keep their commitment to the summer interns they have already selected,” King says.
“They are moving to a remote internship experience and, in some cases, shortening the internship program. A few companies and students have contacted us about the cancellation of their internship program. We are working with the students on options depending on their situation. Our close relationship with our many corporate partners is enabling us to work out additional options for our students.”
King says there are accommodations that career services offices can make for students whose internships have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Doing so successfully requires a blend of creativity, flexibility, and the ability to leverage partnerships across campus and among employers.
“Stay in contact with the students who have an internship and work with your academic departments to identify alternatives for students,” he says.
“Also, it is important to focus on the learning outcomes expected from the internship and be flexible on the delivery.”