Information for Employers

Welcome to the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign Department of Communication Internship Program!

Communication interns are students who are trained in contemporary communication challenges and how to apply their knowledge to a variety of practical situations. They bring with them the latest ideas and practices in communication and can energize a workplace with their enthusiasm and desire to learn. In return, they receive an invaluable opportunity to learn about the work world, a particular industry, or discipline.

Offering Value to Your Business

Interns benefit your business in many ways:

  • Cost-effective way to recruit and evaluate potential permanent employees without a long-term commitment
  • Flexible addition to your work force (full- or part-time, paid or unpaid, three to six months during the fall, spring, or summer)
  • Opportunity to allow current employees to pursue special assignments or to obtain experience by supervising an intern
  • Means of fulfilling corporate social responsibility goals while at the same time potentially yielding significant gains for the bottom-line with creative and skilled young workers

Our Support

The Communication Internship Program is committed to your satisfaction and the student's positive experience. We will assist you by:

  • Publicizing your internship positions to Communication students
  • Matching your positions to our students' qualifications
  • Providing you with resources to better orient and supervise student interns
  • Maintaining contact with you throughout the experience to answer questions

 

FAQs

What is an internship?

An internship is a supervised on-the-job learning experience related to a student’s career interest. 

*If you are contemplating hiring for an an unpaid internship, be aware of the six criteria that must be met to satisfy the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for the services that students provide to for-profit private sector employers.

How is an internship different from volunteer work, a short-term job, or community service?

An intern brings to the experience an intentional learning agenda and receives evaluation from the supervisor.  Students may receive academic credit for their time in the internship.

How do employers benefit from the experience?

Interns can provide immediate short-term help to support projects. They can also energize a workplace with their enthusiasm, desire to learn, and new ideas.

How do I get started?

As the Employer, one of the first steps is to set up a clear job description of what you would like the intern to do. Duties should include pre-professional activities similar to those of one who is newly hired in the field; and allow for an opportunity to learn about the organization’s structure, practices, and goals. Also include any skills that may be required, number of hours/week, whether the internship is paid or unpaid, any other requirements (GPA, year in school, etc.). Once you have a job description, please forward it to us and we will advertise it to our students.

What are some examples of communication intern duties?

Communication majors are among the most skilled and talented generalists and can apply a wide range of skills in the marketplace. Some examples of potential work assignments are: market research, event planning, website design and maintenance, public relations materials, marketing brochures, sales, media, and other corporate communication activities, to name just a few. If you have specific questions about what you are seeking and whether our students may be able to help, please contact us.

Are internships paid?

Not all internships are paid. Those that are paid attract a larger pool of qualified candidates. Many students want a learning experience during the Fall and Spring semesters and are willing to work without pay. In the Summer semester, students often need income to support cost-of-living expenses, particularly if they have to move to another location for the internship or to save for the upcoming school year.

Do students receive credit?

Yes, students can arrange to receive academic credit for their internship through the Internship Program. For any legitimate work experience that has a learning component that is applicable to the field of communication, students may submit a proposal describing the work and apply for credit. Upon approval, students, in conference with the Internship Director, agree upon the amount of credit. Academic credit is only awarded after the requirements of the internship have been met and the on-site supervisor has completed an evaluation of the intern's work performance (form will be provided). Credit cannot be given retroactively for work completed that was not approved of in advance.

Who is eligible to receive internship credit?

Sometimes an employer needs to know in advance if a student qualifies for credit before offering a position. If this is the case, please contact the Internship Program and, after we verify the student's qualifications, a letter stating the student’s eligibility will be provided to the employer.

How many credit hours do students earn?

The faculty member who will be assigning internship credit will determine the appropriate number of credit hours for an internship. This will be calculated from the start and end dates of the internship and the number of days per week and hours per day the student will work. Students need to speak with their Academic Advisor about their specific graduation requirements and how internship/independent study credit applies.

What do academic assignments look like?

Students who receive credit are required to complete assignments. The type and number are negotiated with the sponsoring faculty member.

How do I evaluate an intern?

One of the most critical contributions from the employer is the evaluation that the on-site job supervisor completes on the student intern at the end of his or her internship. The evaluation form is provided by us. You may also have your own evaluation forms and you may use these in addition to the one we provide. Since the internship is a work assignment, a student’s grade is largely determined by how the student performs in the workplace; that's why the evaluation process is critical. The supervisor's contact information is also required on the form, in case there are questions from the faculty member about the evaluation.

What if the student intern isn’t successfully meeting my requirements?

Our student interns are screened for year in school, GPA, skill level, etc. and are carefully matched with an employer. Every employer should interview the student prior to offering the internship. Or, as is often the case, the student has located, interviewed, and secured the position on his or her own efforts. Therefore, the chances that there is not a good fit are rare. However, circumstances may change and/or the student intern may not perform as expected. If this should happen, we encourage you to contact our as quickly as possible to discuss available options. We want the student to have a valuable learning experience; and a part of that experience is meeting expectations and performing on the job as required. In consultation, the Internship Director, faculty member, student, and employer will determine the best way to proceed for a meaningful experience and outcome for all involved.

What if I still have questions?

The Internship Program is available to answer questions and assist you in any way that you need. Please do not hesitate to contact us!

Email: comm-internships@illinois.edu
Phone: 217-333-4383
Twitter: @CMNIllinoisIPO
Facebook: University of Illinois Communication Internship Program