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 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.
Internships are recognized as an “accepted and valid WBL activity” by NYSED and the New York City Public Schools for specific credit purposes.
*In New York State, this includes certified work-based learning coordinators and others who facilitate, arrange and support work-based learning activities for students.
Translating an internship to virtual settings is perhaps one of the more straightforward of all the Work-Based Learning activities, as long as the activity and tasks of the internship can be completed virtually. While internships are generally conducted in the workplace or with a partner organization, in some cases interns may engage in an internship virtually and connect to their internship host and team members electronically via telephone, Skype, Zoom, WebEx, Microsoft Teams or some other technology. There are also virtual simulations available where a learner can select a particular career or occupation, conduct online research and then address and complete one or more mock work assignments for review by a teacher or connector.
Remember, virtual activities either promote “live” student contact with adult professionals and front-line workers via the use of technology, or are simulations and provide students with employer exposures through recordings, on-line research and related classroom activities.
In a virtual internship, a student is engaged in his or her internship virtually. Many industries and employer partners have recently shifted to a model where their employees work from home-based settings. Most of these employers have established protocols, communications systems and supports to ensure that work is productive, employees are engaged and connected to each other. These same protocols apply to interns who are completing their internship from home.
To design an effective and meaningful virtual internship, look to what has been successful for in-person internships with your industry partners or your organization. The first step is identifying projects that are appropriate for virtual interns, such as those appropriate for an entry-level worker, that require minimal oversight. Consider the age, academic status, and skill set of your interns. Projects assigned to the interns should have clear and attainable goals. Informing interns of the connections between their projects and how they contribute to the organization can provide students an invaluable perspective.
Related Virtual Internships are simulations where a learner or group of learners can select a particular career or occupation, conduct online research and then address and complete one or more mock assignments for review by a teacher or WBL connector.
The activities on the Virtual Internships website can be used in several different formats. The educator may: