More Hybrid Internship Programs this Summer



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Internships that combine virtual and in-person/on-site work will become more commonplace this summer as the nation slowly recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.  That’s the finding of a new research study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

A poll of NACE members in April included 310 responses from organizations of all sizes across the nation.  As the table below indicates, hybrid programs were the most popular option with more than 40% of respondents planning these types of internships.  The poll also showed the second most popular option, virtual internships, will be considerably more prevalent than in-person/on-site positions.

Employer Internship Plans 

Most respondents, whether hybrid, virtual, or on-site, plan to make extensive use of online technology to keep interns connected to each other; 84% plan to use messaging software like Slack for communication between interns about work projects, and 83% will have virtual social events for interns. 

Employers will also feature online technology this summer to keep interns in contact with their supervisor and the organization.  While almost 85% plan to pair their interns with a mentor, 83% will utilize Slack, Teams or other messaging software.  And, it’s important to note that 70% plan daily supervisor contact for interns.  

The NACE poll also gauged employer preferences for fall recruiting efforts.  Based on the results, it appears there will be continued emphasis on virtual career fairs.  While 45% plan to take part in both virtual and in-person career fairs, a full 39% of employers are planning only for online fairs.