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Research & Discover

  1. Learn about the landscape. Your first step is to gain a general understanding of the internship arena: What exactly is an internship? Who is Generation Y, and what should you know about hiring them? What are interns looking for in a host organization? Using as your headquarters, read and research as much as possible about the internship industry.

  2. Evaluate your organization. Once you get a feel for what an internship program entails, your next step is to conduct an internal assessment of your company's needs and resources. Some aspects to consider are whether you will pay interns, or how you can otherwise compensate intern efforts; whether your company can support multiple interns; the availability of meaningful work for interns; the type of projects that can be assigned; your ideal duration and time of year to host interns; and how your physical space and equipment will accommodate additional individuals.

  3. Learn about legality. Before you design your program, it's wise to get a grasp on the legal ramifications of hosting interns in your state: minimum wage requirements, workers' compensation issues, safety and harassment policies, termination guidelines, and how other traditional employee benefits and business responsibilities do or don't apply to interns. As a host organization, the best way to cover your bases legally is to consult with your company's legal counsel or contact an employment law professional...before you begin the hiring process.

  4. Understand college credit. It's a common misconception that internships are always in exchange for college or university credit. Yes, an internship is a learning experience. But whether or not educational credit is obtained is strictly between the student and his or her school.