Oswego State sees rise in availability of internships

Administrators in the office of Experience-Based Education (EBE) are continuing to offer new internships to Oswego State students daily, even after the statewide budget cut left other campus offices in the dark.

About 150 new internship opportunities are gathered by EBE every year. This year, the number of available internships continued to increase despite SUNY-wide budget cuts. EBE was not affected by the budget deficit, Director Paul Roodin said.

"We haven’t had any cut-backs," he said.

In fact, there are many new opportunities available for Oswego State students. Orientation workshops for internships are currently running, with two workshops per week that any student can attend.

Upcoming programs, such as the orientation workshops and new online internships have been designed to help Oswego students get the experience they will need for the future.

EBE has also recently joined a national service, called Laker Leads, which provides students with information for on-campus, local and national internship opportunities for all majors.

"It’s the first year we’ve linked up with a national service," Roodin said.

This service, along with a database of internships in the office of EBE, makes it easy for students to find the right internship for them. Students have plenty of internships to choose from, with over 1,400 positions on file, said Debbie Diment, office manager for EBE. Internships on file range from on-campus positions in various offices, to local positions like the Oswego YMCA, to programs outside the state to places such as Disney World.

The diversity of internship choices here at Oswego State "draws attention," Diment said.

Roodin added that students should be open to internships at all levels, be it at either national or local locations. On-campus internships are, he said, "a great place to start."

Students have "got to start someplace. Got to get your feet wet," Roodin said. He called it a "steppingstone approach," saying that "experience now is going to be helpful later on."

The need for experience is fueling students’ desire to apply for internships this year. With the national economy in disarray, employers are looking at prior experience more than ever before. Employers are also "increasingly using internship programs as a feeder pool for full time hire," said Gary Morris, assistant director of Career Services at Oswego State.

"It’s absolutely critical to have some related experience on your resume," he added. Students who do not have an internship under their belt by graduation will be at a "distinct disadvantage," Morris said.

Oswego State students appear to have realized this and are taking advantage of the services offered through the college.

"Our numbers are up this semester," said Diment, referring to how many students have already begun applying for internships. The exact number has not yet been tallied, but Diment said, "It’s a significant number."

With more people applying because of the need for experience, competition is also increasing, even for lesser-known local internships in Oswego.

"More students are anxious to participate," Roodin said.

A larger number of applicants means employers can afford to be more selective, and that students have to stand out more to be chosen. This can discourage some students from applying, Roodin said.

"Students often bail out. They don’t pursue," he said, because of the increased difficulty.

Despite the high competition, Roodin encourages all students to apply.

"Some sort of experience is important regardless of major," added Morris. "Even if the experience is not job number one on your resume… it’s going to provide the student with a lot of benefits."

EBE is trying to help students get internships, regardless of major or age. Freshmen and sophomores are encouraged to apply through GST 303, which can help them earn two to six credits per semester of work experience in their field, while juniors and seniors can apply through the 498 program and earn up to 12 credits for a semester-long internship program.

Offering credits for participating in an internship is another way for EBE to get students involved.

"We’re really on the generous side," said Roodin, because many other institutions do not offer credit for internships.

Oswego is also unique in that students can create their own internships through EBE.