So what kind of bad daytime drama has the coronavirus brought to intern programs?

Interns bring new faces and fresh perspectives to companies, and are the future pipelines of potential top talent, making the decision to cancel intern programs a difficult one. So in early to mid-March, many companies were waiting to make decisions about their already active and well-planned intern programs. But over the last couple of weeks, many began to consider alternatives.

As colleges and universities across the world began to shut down and move students to distance learning, many companies began considering what to do with their intern programs. Most respondents in one of our client surveys about three weeks ago expected that the next few weeks would determine how this batch of upcoming cohorts would be impacted. 

A number of respondents commented that their intern programs, which until recently were in full swing, now had to be placed “on hold.” Nearly a quarter of respondents indicated that they were canceling or considering canceling their intern programs for the summer and possibly for the remainder of 2020.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers has also been polling to get a better understanding of how COVID-19 is impacting intern programs. Here are some of their interesting findings:

  • 70% of employers have moved interns entirely virtual, reduced the length of the internship, or moved events online. 30% of employers surveyed are going ahead with their internship programs as planned.
  • Of those that are making adaptations, 36% have moved interns to virtual programs, 35% have reduced the length of time by delaying start dates, and 18% have reduced the number of interns that they are planning to onboard.

Currently, content is being pumped out on how to effectively run a virtual internship. Here is one from the Harvard Business School that provides best practices for creating a successful internship. It's a must read for those who are designing remote internships for the first time. It may actually change the way you think about managing your internship program post-pandemic too!