Hiatt Career Center provides $200,000 In funds for internships

Center introduces World of Work (WOW) Interns Program.

A new program being introduced by the Hiatt Career Center allows sophomores and juniors to propose an unpaid internship in any field and receive a $3,500 fellowship to complete it over the summer. This means that students won’t have to forego a great work option because the organization can’t afford to provide a salary. The students, or Hiatt World of Work (WOW) Interns, can satisfy their passion for doing something meaningful while working on the foundation for a career.

“We are allowing them to do that by taking away financial barriers,” said Hiatt Center Director Joseph DuPont.

DuPont notes that this program falls neatly into Brandeis’ commitment to experiential learning. Supervised work experience allows students to apply classroom learning to real-world settings, explore career possibilities in a structured setting and develop skills that prepare them for the work place. A structured work internship plays a very practical role in a student’s career trajectory as well. Since employers are increasingly relying on internship programs as pipelines to full-time positions within their organizations, these internships often provide students with access to professional networks they otherwise would not have and give them a decided advantage over other students in the hiring process.

Through the program, as many as 50 Brandeis sophomores and juniors will have the financial support they need to intern with organizations that do not have the resources to pay them directly. Hiatt believes that such experiences are a key to career exploration and that there is great student interest for this kind of program.

“The world is full of unpaid internships that can help students explore their career interests,” said DuPont, who, in keeping with the Brandeis tenet, is hoping some of the interns will opt to get involved with a social justice or community service-type organization. “The staff at the Hiatt Career Center is committed to providing great internship opportunities and support services for students and this program is a key component of that.”

There are a lot of internship options to choose from. According to DuPont, a student could work as an administration intern for a theater festival in Scotland. They could intern with a medical humanitarian organization like Doctors without Borders, as a caseworker assessing the medical needs of the local population in an indigent country. They could work as an environmental intern studying the long-term pollution impact of the recent California fires on the local population or as a communications intern for a sports franchise. They might even intern for a bank in China as a translator, or for a national park in Bolivia in the field of sustainable development/conservation. “The sky’s the limit,” DuPont said.

DuPont’s proposal for the program outlined three main benefits for students: applying classroom learning in an actual work environment; gaining hands-on experience in their industry of choice and, in the process, making themselves better qualified for future employment.

To be eligible to apply, students have to obtain a written commitment from an organization to hire them for at least 200 hours this summer. They also have to submit a work agreement relating to at least one of the benefits cited by DuPont.

Other requirements include a pre-internship preparation session, a mid-summer check-in with Hiatt staff, and a post-internship presentation to the Brandeis community for others who might want to pursue a similar opportunity.

Applications are due by Feb. 15, 2008 and Hiatt WOW Interns will be selected by March 15. More information about the program will be available on the Hiatt Career Center website in early December.

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