Building Your Internship Program Remember, interns are not just additional clerical staff. Interns should be considered an integral part of the work force who are expected to learn and understand the nature of the business and projects they are assigned. Provide meaningful work. If the interns are used purely for "busy work", neither party is maximizing the situation. Make sure interns understand the "big picture" by providing broad exposure to the organization, including staff meetings and informational interviews with key staff members. You will be pleasantly surprised at the quality of work they can produce! Develop specific projects and assignments. Whenever possible, delegate beginning-to-end projects. Let interns work as a member of the team so they can learn how different departments interact within the organization. Plan a challenging work experience and assign projects that relate to their studies. Routine office work should not be the primary focus of the experience. Determine the particulars. Map out the length and timing of the internship experience (i.e. summer, fall, or spring, and the number of weeks), working hours (part-time or full-time), applicant selection criteria, and compensation. Work with the supervising manager to create a job description. Describe the organization and outline duties or projects associated with the internship. Develop a detailed position description that outlines the student's expectations and assignments. Select a direct supervisor for each intern. This person should be responsible for assigning projects, working with the intern to provide onthe-job training, answering questions and offering regular performance reviews. Appoint an Internship Coordinator as needed for recruitment and management purposes. The task of screening applicants, working with the Career Planning and Development, and administering the on-site activities of interns can become fairly time-consuming depending on the size of your internship program. Coordinate logistics prior to the intern's arrival. Be sure to arrange for workspace, phone use, a mailbox, e-mail accounts, payroll forms, security clearance, parking permits, and any other needs. Provide training and support through an orientation or mentoring program. The training program should cover the basics, including an overview of corporate philosophy, an office tour, and introductions to staff. Also want to review the dress code, hours, and other relevant office policies and company procedures. Establish performance criteria and provide ongoing feedback about his or her performance. This practice benefits both parties. It serves as a professional development experience for the intern and clarifies employer expectations of what constitutes quality performance on the job. Meet regularly, especially in the beginning. Before interns return to school, conduct their evaluation and "exit interview." You will be asked to provide an evaluation of your intern. You will want to review this with them. You should also solicit feedback on the nature of their experience and suggestions they may have for improving the program. Be sure to get updated contact information. Legal Issues This section will briefly cover the legal ramifications regarding hiring interns and compensation issues. Please note, however, we are not attorneys, and this information does not constitute bona fide legal advice. Therefore it should be used only as a guideline for consulting your own human resources department or general counsel on legal matters. With the exception of less stringent termination and unemployment compensation procedures, the same laws and standards for hiring full-time employees apply to hiring interns. While interns are not specified in the language of the law, we strongly recommend that you follow equal opportunity employment laws when recruiting and hiring interns. To limit exposure to liability, it is generally a good idea to cover interns under your worker's compensation policy even when they are unpaid. International students are authorized to work in the U.S., once they provide letter confirming the internship placement. The University of North Alabama’s Office of International Affairs will then issue work permission documents that will satisfy 1-9 requirements.