During Tuesday’s State of the Union address, President Obama stated that higher education should be viewed as an economic imperative and urged Congress to provide community colleges with the resources they need to become “community career centers.” Community colleges serve as a career gateway for many Americans, and with an estimated 62% of all jobs in the US requiring at least a two-year degree by 2018, postsecondary education is becoming a prerequisite for economic success. Obtaining a college degree, however, no longer guarantees employment. With the unemployment rate hovering around 18%-20%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, American youth aged 16-24 are struggling to find jobs. More and more employers say real-world experience is the key to getting a job. 90% of new hires will have had work-related experiences prior to entering the workforce. And, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 7 out of 10 internships turn into full-time jobs. It’s evident that in today’s increasingly competitive global economy, students must take advantage of every opportunity to enhance their skills and marketability in order to ensure successful entry into the job market.
Internships have always been viewed as a great way for students to put concepts learned in class into practice and develop practical skills that cannot be taught in a classroom. However, what was once viewed as a nice-to-have is now becoming an integral step towards achieving post-graduate success. More and more employers say that having real-world experience on your resume is crucial to getting a job in today’s ever competitive job market. Consider these staggering statistics:
- According to a recent study for Michigan State University, ninety percent of new hires will have had work-related experiences prior to entering the workforce and some companies said that they would not even consider a candidate who lacked internship experience.
- In the National Association of Colleges and Employers Job Outlook 2010 survey, more than 75% of employers said they prefer candidates with relevant work experience while 16% said they prefer any type of work experience, relevant or not.