Work-Based Learning - Internship Activity Guide

  • Internship Fact Sheet
  • Coordinator Checklist
  • Required Documents
  • Implementation Tools

Internship Fact Sheet

What is an Internship?

An Internship is a highly structured, time-limited, Career Preparation activity in which students are placed at a worksite to participate in and observe work first hand.

Internships provide students the opportunity to learn by doing real work and being productively engaged in the workplace. They may provide the opportunity to work in teams, work on a project, or rotate through a number of departments and job functions.

Sustaining and growing Internships and all other work-based learning activities depend on maintaining positive relationships with the employers who are providing opportunities. These employers should be treated as valued customers and partners with frequent check-ins to address participation needs as they arise.

Internships are designed to:

  • Promote hands-on experience in a field of interest.
  • Provide productive value for the employer.
  • Provide exposure to a wide range of careers and jobs within the industry.
  • Offer opportunities to develop, practice and demonstrate employability skills.
  • Build occupational knowledge.
  • Create awareness of the education needed to be successful in the industry.

Internships are structured to:

  • Enhance workplace knowledge and career awareness.
  • Help build the skills required for specific occupations.
  • Expose students to a wide spectrum of workplace activities.
  • Support key academic concepts, as well as technical and occupational skills development.

Internships are supported by:

  • Student preparation in the classroom.
  • Internship design with the employer partner.
  • Employer host orientation and ongoing troubleshooting.
  • Multiple opportunities for reflection on the experience, both verbally and in writing.
  • Employer assessment of skills acquisition.

Internships are connected to:

  • Classroom learning.
  • Individual career development/training plans.
  • A sequence of educational, training and workplace activities.
  • The student’s next steps.

Internships take place for a minimum of 60 hours with more hours being optimal. They may be paid or unpaid, depending on whether the student is performing productive work for the employer and other factors.

Internships are one activity in the continuum of authentic work-based experiences provided to all students engaged in career-related programs or course of study in New York City Schools.

Quick tips for Work-Based Learning Coordinators* to ensure a successful Internship

Before the Internship

  • Review the Fact Sheet and required documents/forms.
  • Meet with teachers and discuss how they can help with student selection, internship design, reflection activities and support the classroom connection. Share the Teacher Tip Sheet.
  • Maintain regular communications with teachers.
  • Design and develop the internship with the employer.
  • Establish a schedule for student interviews with the employer.
  • Debrief following the interviews.
  • Have the employer sign the worksite agreement.
  • Identify interested students and review resumes.
  • Select and refer qualified students matched to employer specifications.
  • Schedule student interviews with employer, and confirm placement details by providing employer and student with offer letter.
  • Conduct a mandatory site visit to address key legal or safety issues.
  • Prepare internship hosts by providing an orientation and determining the preferred frequency and method of contact.
  • Prepare students by sharing the student tip sheet and developing specific learning objectives for their work-based learning plan.

During the Internship

  • If possible, meet with the student and worksite supervisor at the workplace and observe workplace activities. Finalize training plan and make appointments for any future visits.
  • Assist the worksite supervisor in completing the Employer Evaluation of student performance at the mid-point and completion of the internship.
  • Facilitate learning by coordinating opportunities for students to reflect on their internships in the classroom and regularly assess progress using evaluations.
  • Monitor student timesheets and payroll processes and resolve any issues that may arise.

After the Internship

  • Conduct follow-up activities by reviewing the completed evaluations with the student.
  • Help students update their Employability Skills Profile and think about any next steps they would like to take to further their career goals.
  • Provide avenues for feedback on the effectiveness of the internship and make recommendations for adjustments in the future.
  • Coordinate opportunities for student reflection with teachers to help students make the connection between this internship, classroom learning and next steps.
  • Document the experience and provide reports to school leadership and employer partners.

*In New York State, this includes certified work-based learning coordinators and others who facilitate, arrange and support work-based learning activities for students.

Sample Internship Timeline

  • Three months in advance:
    • Develop and design the internship.
    • Confirm student availability and schedule with appropriate stakeholders.
    • Get signed worksite agreement.
  • Two months in advance:
    • Review resumes.
    • Schedule student interviews.
    • Process results.
    • Confirm placement details.
    • Conduct a site visit.
  • One month in advance:
    • Prepare internship hosts.
    • Prepare students.
    • Prepare teachers.
  • One week in advance:
    • Confirm details with all parties.
  • On the start date:
    • Check in with student and employer.

Tips for Success

  • Engage in proper planning and preparation.
  • Address safety, legal and logistical details.
  • Communicate with all parties.
  • Maximize learning potential.
  • Focus on skills acquisition.
  • Connect to the classroom.
  • Provide support for students and supervisors.
  • Promote student reflection.