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How I Spent My Summer: High School Internships Boost Job Prospects, Survey Finds

Roughly 70 percent of companies said that high school students who complete their internship programs are likely to land a college internship as well.

February 3, 2014
Related Topics: Intern/Internships, Motivating Employees, The Latest, Talent Management
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High school interns

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock.

Kids have it easy these days?

Think again.

Beyond the normal high school student worries, like “Who am I going to take to the dance?” or “Why did Mr. Henderson give me a C in biology?” today’s young people have a new subject troubling their worried minds: landing an internship.

According to a new study of almost 4,800 high school and college students conducted by Millennial Branding — a Boston-based consulting firm — and the website Internships.com, 55 percent of high school students say that their parents are putting pressure on them to gain professional experience via an internship during high school while 42 percent say that they are under pressure to do so because of the economy.

“Parents realize that it is going to be very hard for their child to get a job with the economy,” said Dan Schawbel, author of “Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success”and founder and managing partner of Millennial Branding. “They believe that internships will get their children into better colleges and then eventually higher-paying jobs.”

After all, “Parents are also competitive with other parents; they want their kids to be the best,” he added.

And parents might just know best after all.

In a companion survey of about 300 companies, almost 89 percent of employers said high school students who have had an internship or related experience have a competitive advantage for gaining an internship or full-time job in college. Additionally, 83 percent said that they believe an internship would help students land better-paying jobs in the future.

Roughly 70 percent of companies said that high school students who complete their internship programs are either “very likely” or “completely likely” to land a college internship with their organization, and 45 percent said that completing a high school internship would be “very likely” or “completely likely” to lead to a full-time job at their company down the road — something today’s teens would appreciate.

“High school students are more career-minded now than college students. They are more entrepreneurial, they volunteer more to gain experience, and they are just more aggressive overall,” Schawbel said.

He added that 70 percent of the internships high school students applied for “are focused on social media and marketing, which was the No. 1 skill on LinkedIn on 2013. Companies feel that these high school kids are very well-connected to technology and thus are very valuable.”

In other words, give them an A for “assets.”

Eric Short is Workforce’s editorial intern. To comment, email editors@workforce.com.

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