Internships help Youngstown State students get a running start
When employers look to hire new recruits into their organization, they are looking for more than just a transcript. Experience, education and references are important, but the most successful companies also want to know that the people they’re bringing in are the right fit for their corporate culture. They want to know that you are punctual and can communicate well, that you work well as part of a team, and that you can actually do the job—things that don’t necessarily show up on a résumé.
So how do you show your true value to a prospective employer? One great way is to have already worked there—through an internship.
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, six out of 10 employers say they prefer work experience that is gained through an internship or co-op experience. And for many future employees, the key to getting the right internship is going to the right college.
At Youngstown State University, students from every discipline—from engineering to business to health and human services to art performance—are finding internships to jump start their careers while they are still in school. In fact, Youngstown State values the practice so much that most degrees require internships before a student can graduate.
“I think the greatest take away from my internship experience with The Butler Institute of American Art is that I am constantly reminding myself to stay open to learning,” says Alison Begala, a 2018 graduate in interdisciplinary studio art. “I’m always surprising myself with how much I don’t know. Working with experts and reaching out to people with more experience for help is not always easy. I’m still learning from it all.”
Prior to being named president of Youngstown State, Jim Tressel coached college football for nearly four decades, spending 25 years as a head coach. He says he rarely hired anyone he hadn’t already seen doing the job.
“Internships are an application of what the students have learned in the classroom,” says Tressel. “These students demonstrate that they have what the company wants. And by the end of their junior year, some students already have job offers.”
Internships can also be seen as extensions of the classroom, a way for students to learn and add skills off-campus.
“My internship with ESPN was unlike anything I had experienced before,” says Chris Colella, a 2019 telecommunications graduate in the sports broadcasting track. “I had the opportunity to pitch content ideas in production meetings, produce highlights for SportsCenter, and log numerous live sporting events. I would highly recommend others participate in an internship. You are given the opportunity to grow and learn new things, and a lot of that experience can’t be learned or taught in a classroom.”
President Tressel also points out that an internship is a two-way street of opportunity. Not only does the company get a feel for the intern, but the student can also decide if the business—or even the field in general—is the right fit.
“My internship with First National Bank was easily one of the most challenging and engaging experiences that I’ve had,” says Thomas Russo, finance major. “Partaking in an internship goes a long way in helping you find a job that’s a good fit for you after graduation. It’s the only time in your professional career where you’ll be able to “test the waters” and see if a long-term job in that position is right for you.”
Youngstown State is uniquely positioned to help interns maximize their opportunities. First, the school is located an hour away from both Cleveland, Ohio, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, giving students access to dozens of Fortune 1000 companies and millions of jobs. Second, a long tradition of sending top-notch interns out into the field—and having many of them land jobs—has given Youngstown State a sterling reputation among recruiters.
The third thing that gives Youngstown State interns an advantage is that they have all the skills, knowledge and experience of a top-notch higher education. Youngstown State combines its proximity to two world-class cities with a traditional college setting. About 13,000 students occupy the secure and traditional 145-acre campus, meaning average class size is only 21 students—rare for an NCAA Division I school. Yet the school offers more than 115 undergraduate programs and 40-plus graduate degrees, along with plenty of financial aid so that students can graduate and embark on their careers with little or no debt.
“I’ve been at all sizes of schools, and they’re all good,” says Tressel. “What I like about Youngstown State is that we have the intimacy where attention is available, but we also have the majors and opportunities for research that the big campuses have.”
To learn more about Youngstown State and explore the many internship opportunities available to students, visit ysu.edu.