Internships canceled, functioning virtually

Graphic by Kelsey Jackson.

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Considering the unfortunate outbreak of COVID-19 and the sudden shutdown of businesses throughout the country, it’s no surprise that internships have also been affected.

Shane Blocker, assistant director of career services, said quite a few national internships have been canceled and local internships are now functioning virtually. 

Companies that have been forced to transition to online are offering their interns alternative projects to continue their understanding of the field, including marketing plans, researching and case studies.

“In many ways, I feel it is better as it teaches students to improvise, adapt and overcome,”

Brett Coleman, senior communication studies major and public relations intern

“Companies are continuing the professional development and how those students are developing into the professional they want to be,” Blocker said. “[They’re] trying to get that in-person experience as much as they can.”

Stacy Schmidt, public relations and publications coordinator, said Dixie State University’s public relations team has its interns working from home, writing articles, creating social media ideas, creating blogs and assisting with the development of its next Viewbook.

Schmidt said: “I think part of the quality of an internship can depend on the student and their willingness to learn, lean into various opportunities, and be flexible as well as resourceful.”

Brett Coleman, a senior communication studies major and public relations intern from Midway, said students can still get a great experience even though it’s not the same.

“In many ways, I feel it is better as it teaches students to improvise, adapt and overcome,” Coleman said.

Blocker said companies are making sure students are still getting the hours required for their internships.

Schmidt said: “[University Marketing and Communication] interns have to work a minimum of 90 hours throughout the semester in order to meet the requirement for class credit. Ours work about 10 hours per week on average, which more than meets this requirement.”

As of now, the plan for summer internships is still in the air, Blocker said. Certain national companies have canceled their internships, such as Switchpoint, Disney and Capital One, but local companies are waiting to see what happens.

As long as the cases of COVID-19 decrease, Blocker said, he thinks companies are going to be more willing to start internships back up again; however, summer internships will most likely be virtual.

“Locally, we are not as affected as nationally, so it will be interesting to see how the local economy recovers,” Blocker said.

Blocker said local companies are still tentatively planning on going forward with fall internships and students should still look for fall internships because more opportunities will start becoming available.

“The biggest thing students can do right now if they’re looking for internships for the summer is to … just wait it out,” Blocker said. “I have no idea what’s going to happen; I don’t think anybody knows. It’s still such a [strange] situation.”

If you have any questions, concerns or need help finding internships, reach out to Career Services at [email protected] or make an appointment through Handshake.