From early on in my career as a Career Counselor I have been a proponent of internships. It is where 4 years of education gets applied to real life. Too often new grads enter the job market with little proof that they know how to apply what they learned in the classroom and therefore have little applicable work experience. In my professional opinion internships should be required of every college student.
With that being said AARP asked me to comment of internships for mid career professionals. Mid career often brings people to a cross roads where they are evaluating other options. If this time of discernment brings them to a career change, are internships available to mid-lifers, I was asked. I said that anytime there is skill enhancement or a complete retraining there should be a way to demonstrate the use of those new skills in the workplace. Unfortunately many organizations are ill equipped to bring on “interns” unless there is a structured program within the company to do so. Most internship programs have some guidelines in terms of compensation, responsibilities and supervision. I think establishing such programs is a huge opportunity for employers, especially with mid career professionals. This population already comes with general work skills, they just need a place to try out their new and improved skill set. Smaller organizations and non profits have long benefited from people doing internships as volunteers. Other employers just need to catch up because retooled mid lifers can be a huge asset to the workforce.