Important COVID-19 Internship Requirement Update for Students Who Entered in Fall 2019

As we all know, the COVID-19 containment measures have significantly changed the summer 2020 internship resources and hiring process for many employers—locally, nationally, and around the world. Students, employers, and colleagues from our networks are letting us know about internships that are canceled, put on hold, or moved to virtual settings this summer. We know this creates a lot of anxiety for you as you consider the 400-hour internship requirement for your program and the concerns about meeting it. It is also true that internship experience is a crucial employment factor for many of our students when they graduate and navigate their job searches. With an uncertain economy and a potentially competitive job market, these experiences will be even more important.

At the Humphrey School, we share two important goals. The first is to make sure you all progress to degree completion. The second is to give you the opportunities and tools you need to be successfully employed after graduation. With those two goals in mind, the Humphrey School Directors of Graduate Studies and the Career and Professional Development staff met to develop an initial strategy to help you navigate this situation. We did not come up with a one-size-fits-all solution for every student, and this strategy for students in the entering class of 2019 could change as we more clearly understand the 2020 internship situation moving forward. We do hope this information will be helpful to you as you consider your options.

  1. Normally, there are limits to the types of Research Assistantships that are allowed to count for the internship requirement. We will be liberal in what types of RAs will be allowed to meet the requirement. Ideally, these experiences would have some component of work with community partners. Please email Steph Eiden to discuss the possibility of using RA positions to meet your internship requirement.
  2. In partnership with our Internship Coordinator, Steph Eiden, your DGS, and your faculty advisor, we will also be more liberal with our waiver policy for students in the entering class of 2019. First, we will waive the internship requirement if you land full-time, degree-related experience prior to graduation. Second, we will be more flexible in the types and amounts of experience needed to waive the requirement. We encourage you to wait until next spring to waive the internship requirement so you have an opportunity to find relevant experiences, but you can consult with your advisor and Steph Eiden at any time to see if your internship could likely be waived.
  3. In addition, we are developing a process to allow students who have completed a minimum of 200 hours to waive the additional hours needed to meet the 400-hour requirements. In essence, this means that if students from the entering class of 2019 complete 200 internship hours, they will have completed their requirements. We anticipate that it may be easier for you to complete 200 hours during the school year or through a part-time internship if you are unable to land a full-time summer internship. Contact Steph Eiden once you have completed the 200 hours to do the waiver process.
  4. As always, students can combine multiple experiences to add up to the total number of hours needed. You do not have to complete these hours during the summer and can spread them out throughout the school year.
  5. As a Humphrey community, we are working with our networks to identify and develop new and innovative opportunities for you to gain experience. Please continue to check our internship listings and our Short-Term Community Partner Engagement Opportunities listing regularly. We may be able to count short-term and virtual opportunities for partial completion of your internship requirement for students in the entering class of 2019. Please consult Steph Eiden if you have questions about whether experiences may count toward the internship requirement.
  6. We anticipate there may be a larger percentage of internships that will be unpaid or that paid internships may continue but without funding. We are looking at the summer internship funding process and the possibility of increasing available funds. We plan to release information on this updated process very soon.
  7. According to the Office of Public Engagement, all experiential learning activities, including internships, must be conducted remotely for summer 2020, meaning students should not be reporting in person to any internship. If your internship has been deemed essential, please contact Steph Eiden to consult and complete the Petition for an Exemption to do In-Person, On-Site Community-Based Learning/Internships.

This group of faculty and staff will continue to track this situation and look at additional options if necessary. Again, the internship requirement will not prevent you from graduating, we hope that these strategies will be helpful to you, and we will work with you on an individual basis to help you obtain the experience you need. Please check your email for the Career and Professional Development Weekly newsletter (Tuesdays) and refer to the COVID-19 FAQ page for more information, programming, and helpful resources. And please connect with us via email or by making an appointment for guidance on your unique situation.