The Value of Internships

A goal of every student attending Ohio State is to parlay the theoretical study usually associated with an undergraduate education into a rewarding and fulfilling professional experience. Many students do this after graduating, while others take advantage of an internship to combine some of that “real-world” experience with the classroom experience while still a student.

Many programs have understood the values associated with internships for their students, and either require or otherwise connect students with professional opportunities. Other programs, not so much. Allied medicine, business, engineering, social work and others have tradition of engagement through internships that give students the chance to learn first-hand what it means to work in that discipline, to network with professionals who are actively working, and to “test the waters” of a particular career, company or organization, or professional interest area. Not to mention that it gives the company a chance to look at the student, and perhaps offer him or her a job after graduation. (One publication recently observed that 73% of interns were ultimately offered a job by the company that they interned for.)

The Ohio Board of Regents understands the value of internships, not only to the students in their member schools, but to companies in Ohio and to the Ohio economy overall. They recently set aside $11M from licensing fees from the various casinos that have been built across the state to fund a program they call OMIC – Ohio Means Internships and Co-ops. This program provides grants to universities that develop partnerships with Ohio companies to support paid internships for their students.

Ohio State received one of these grants, to the tune of over $1.5M, to fund a program we call “JobReady: Interns and Co-Ops for Ohio Industry”. This program connects over 80 employers with nearly 440 students from many different disciplines and majors, and provides paid internships that are funded from the state allocation, matched by the company. JobReady is a partnership with the Office of Undergraduate Education, the Office of Research, Student Life, the Digital Union, and several Career Services offices across several colleges. It also connects with Columbus State Community College and North Central State College in Mansfield. The internships are in many different targeted industries, including automotive, energy, financial services, and food processing.

The program allows businesses to receive cost share of wages on a sliding size scale and students to receive credit and wages for internships, plus stipends to offset other costs such as transportation and housing. One unique aspect of JobReady are the JobReady modules – self-contained instructional resources offered both online and face-to-face that address employer-identified gaps between the classroom and the workplace. These modules are focused on many different areas that employers want to see their interns get more experience with, including ethical behavior, experimental design, financial planning, workplace effectiveness, critical thinking, interpersonal communication, and business intelligence. Each employer will select 2-4 of these modules, which are identified as required for the intern to complete while working.

The benefits of this program are clear: higher student graduation rates and stronger workplace preparation (supported by research) for students who participate in such programs, the ability to earn stipends while attending school – contributing to college completion, and for industry, engagement in achieving a JobReady workforce.

If you have an interest in the program or want to find out more about the kinds of internships that are available, go to