Greenfield Community College offers you the valuable opportunity to enhance your education with on-the-job learning. Our experience has shown that internships can be a win-win situation for students and the businesses in which they temporarily work. You acquire essential work experience and industry knowledge while providing your existing skills and your enthusiasm to your host business. You can earn credit and, often, get paid. You network with industry professionals, learn systems not covered in your classes, add valuable jobs and references to your resume and bring insights and learning experiences back to the classroom.
What is an internship?
An internship is a work opportunity that is related to your program of study. It is temporary and sometimes paid. You can earn academic credit because you bring your classroom learning to the job, then reflect on the experience with an academic mentor. It often will involve a final paper or presentation.
What are the benefits?
- A successful internship can help you clarify your next steps academically.
- You earn credit that applies towards your degree and that may transfer for some four year programs as an elective.
- It gives you an opportunity to learn about local employers while making a short term commitment.
- It can provide tangible projects, skills and positive references on your resume.
- It can prepare you for a full time job and important job interviews.
- Many internships lead to jobs in the host companies.
What should students consider before applying for an internship?
It is helpful to job shadow before applying for an internship. Informational interviews can give you a valuable glimpse into the workings of the host business and the people employed there.
- Do you have a specific project that you could propose to your internship site or a skill that you feel would benefit them?
- Are you able to work at least 45 hours in the internship semester? (A 3- credit semester long internship, the standard, is 135 hours—about 10 hours a week.)
- Do you prefer to work independently or closely supervised?
- Do you have a faculty mentor in mind who can help you define your goals?
What role do employers and faculty play?
You will work closely with your faculty mentor and your host site supervisor to develop learning outcomes and objectives ensuring a valuable learning experience for you and a productive outcome for your host business. We will ask you to assess this partnership during and at the end of the internship. You will be expected to meet professional standards in the workplace.
Eligibility for internships at GCC depends on the program in which the students are enrolled. Generally, you are expected to have completed significant coursework in your program: a semester for certificate students and a year’s worth of credits for Associate Degree students. We may also ask that you have taken specific courses directly related to your internship. Students should be in good academic standing. A faculty mentor will evaluate your eligibility and will review the internship agreement with you and the site supervisor.
Students meet with their faculty mentor on a regular (usually bi-weekly) basis, during which time written reflection, goals, and work are evaluated. Students are required to work 45 hours per credit.
Internships offer students the opportunity to take learning experiences out into a specific work setting to advance their educational and professional goals. The intern works closely with an employer-mentor and a GCC faculty-mentor to design an individualized ‘course’ that may range from 35 hours up to 210 hours on the job. The internship also involves academic work designed to support the learning goals and demands of the work site. For example, a student intern at an architecture firm might submit a portfolio of work, while a solar installation intern might submit designs of solar systems and photographs of installations performed.
Internships range from one to six credits. Each credit requires 35 hours “on the job” and some additional time to pursue the academic components of the project. These credits are billed in the same way as course credits, although grant funds can often waive the cost of internship credits.
Steps to getting an internship
Step 1: Do some thinking: Consider your educational and professional goals. What kind of job experience do you want? What local businesses do you know of that might be of interest? Please download the necessary forms and fill them out before your first meeting with the internship coordinator or a faculty member in your program who agrees to mentor you.
Step 2: Check out list of available internships, then meet with the internship coordinator.
At this first meeting, you will discuss general learning objectives, identify possible internship sites, and consider possible faculty mentors. Even if we don’t have an opportunity currently available for you, we can still help find a placement for you!
Step 3: We will match you with sites we feel are compatible. You then communicate with the internship site host to finalize the shared goals of the internship. Your faculty mentor can assist with this process.
Step 4: Complete required internship registration forms (including an Internship Contract and evaluation forms).
Step 5: Enjoy your internship. Meet regularly with your faculty and employer mentors.
Step 6: Complete assessments and activities as described by the internship agreement.
Step 7: If you feel this is appropriate, remember to ask for a letter of recommendation and also ask your host if they would consider being available for references.
Download a handy checklist to help you remember all this: Internship Process Checklist
We ask that you apply for internships through GCC’s Internship Coordinator rather than contacting companies directly. This helps ensure that your placement is a good fit for you, the College and your internship host.
To apply, browse available opportunities online. If you find one you like, click “Apply for this internship” and someone will follow-up with you shortly!