The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars has released an Internship Bill of Rights.
Focused on learning, the Internship Bill of Rights outlines an equal partnership between schools, employers, and students and serves as a model for all academic internships across the country.
As a nonprofit that helped advance experiential learning for nearly 40 years, The Washington Center (TWC) has worked with hundreds of colleges, thousands of students and scores of internship sites to create valuable academic internship programs. For the first time TWC is making its standards public to promote uniform best practices for all academic internship experiences.
"At the heart of every internship experience is learning," says Mike Smith, president of The Washington Center.
"We need to get out of the mindset that an intern is working for a company. An internship experience is just that, an experience. An intern's responsibility is to observe, self-reflect, acquire skills, and complete challenging learning assignments—all while being treated as an equal member of the team.
"In turn, the employer is responsible for mentoring the intern and creating an overall meaningful experience with access to projects, assignments, and a professional work culture.
"Colleges and universities are then, the link between employers and interns, overseeing the student's participation and guiding them through the process before, during, and after the experience."
The Internship Bill of Rights was established to empower interns and raise the bar for all internships. This new resource encourages interns to think about the impact of the internship before it even begins, stresses the value of academic collaboration, and gives employers a tool to measure the effectiveness of their own internship programs.
Releasing the Internship Bill of Rights is the first step in a multiyear effort in which The Washington Center will be adding a renewed focus on the learning component of internship experiences. The organization plans to grow the initiative with training and additional resources for students, employers, and colleges and universities.