Internship Information for Employers

THE INTERNSHIP PROGRAM: INFORMATION FOR PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYERS

The internship program is designed to provide opportunities for students to gain experience as well as practical knowledge about politics and public administration. On-the-job experience enables the student to discover perspectives that can seldom be effectively conveyed in academic courses.

The requirements that students must meet prior to starting an internship give them the ability to help with fact finding, research activities, and report writing among other duties your organization or office may have. Students in the Public Administration major at UNI take courses in personnel, public budgeting, public policy, public organizations, and research methods. Consequently, employers of interns should be willing to have them help out on meaningful projects. Employers should also be willing to have interns sit in on meetings related to projects they are working on, as well as allowing interns to observe "daily life" within the office or organization. Interns should not be used primarily for clerical help. Note that interns do not need to be paid.

Examples of recent internships include work at a local hospital to make assessments of patterns of volunteer help to better use, attract, and schedule that help, work to help a small Iowa town prepare an assessment of its Capital Improvement Project as part of its annual budget process, and helping to coordinate USDA funding for a rural water district in Iowa by developing population maps and linking them to relevant demographic data.

To gain academic credit, interns need to work a minimum of 160 hours at their internship.

Prospective employers should make sure that there is enough to keep an intern busy for those hours over the course of the internship. An internship need not perfectly correspond to the academic semester (16 weeks in the fall and spring; 4 weeks in the summer), but the employer and intern should establish a regular work schedule to ensure that the work requirements are met.

At the end of the internship, the employer should write a brief letter to the Internship Coordinator evaluating the performance of the intern. This should include information about quality of work, value to the organization, and skills that were impressive (or deficient).

For more information about the internship program, please contact the Internship Coordinator, Christopher Larimer, via email or by phone at 319-273-6047.
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