Internships Increase In '19-'20



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

The University Career Center (UCC) is reporting a significant increase in internship/co-op listings in its career management system during the just completed school year.  But while those numbers are encouraging, the UCC is cautious about the coming school year that could potentially bring a tighter marketplace of opportunities.

There was a 72% increase in internships, co-op and experiential learning listings for 2019-2020 over the previous year. Within 60 miles of Louisville, the UCC has experienced 6% growth in these listings since 2017-18 (2018-19 and 2019-2020 were exactly the same).  UCC director Bill Fletcher explains the increase as an outgrowth of its career management system, Handshake. “More universities across the country have adopted the Handshake system. So, more schools on board equals more listings, in addition to a booming economy."

The vast majority of the increase in these positions during 2019-2020 occurred during the first three quarters of the year (July, 2019 through March, 2020).  With the onset of the pandemic in March, the last quarter of the year (April through June) still saw a small net increase of 24 listings when compared to the same quarter the previous year. According to Fletcher, "the pandemic clearly took the gusto out of the market during the last quarter, but it is amazing that even with the decline, listings for the last quarter were essentially the same as the previous year." 

So what lies ahead for the new school year?  Fletcher predicts, I suspect there will be internship, co-op, and experiential learning opportunities. However, it may not be exactly where, when, and how students want them. Flexibility and adaptability will be essential traits for students seeking positions.”  Fletcher added the caveat that much of this depends not only on the severity and longevity of the pandemic but also on any potential fallout from national elections.