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SALT LAKE CITY -- The University of Utah is stressing the importance of internships to its students more than it has in years. School officials say students might overlook certain internships in this economy.
As it has been for many years, the internship is still considered one of the biggest values for an employer. University of Utah Career Services Director Stan Inman said, "We know that about 80 percent of employers are using internship programs as their number one strategy for talent acquisition."
But Inman says not all internships are looked at the same way, especially in a down economy.
"Unpaid internships are really difficult to fill because our students rely very much on the income potential that work provides," he said.
About 80 percent of employers are using internship programs as their number one strategy for talent acquisition.
Inman says many of the students at the University of Utah may be a little older than students outside of the state. A lot of them have served religious missions and are now living on their own. A large number of them are married and working. So, they might not be able to make the commitment to an unpaid internship other students might be able to make.
"That's a really tough decision for students [and] one that they struggle with because they know they need that experience," Inman said.
But the school is taking bigger steps to promote internships now than it has in five years. It's offering help for students to find scholarships or other sources of money so they can take an internship without pay. Inman says even if a student doesn't get paid, they get valuable experience in their field.
"Those experiences are certainly valid," he said. "We look at a lot of the internships in [industries like] non-profit and government. They don't always have the ability to pay an intern but they still provide a great learning experience."