An internship is a work-related learning experience that supports the academic objectives of a student and provides a meaningful professional work experience in a specified occupation or profession. Internships help build the pool of potential applicants who are ready to meet the needs of state agencies.

Before pursuing an internship proposal, programs should consider:

  • Current management or supervisory capacity.
  • Commitment to ensuring a valuable and transferable work experience.
  • Willingness to support other developmental opportunities for the intern. (See below.)
  • Overall objectives for both the student and agency program.

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Expectations for hiring interns

Hiring Activities

  1. Provide interns with meaningful work assignments. Offer challenging projects and/or assignments that benefit the division /or agency, while providing tangible work experience for the intern. Internships should not be used as a way to catch-up a team’s backlog of work.
  2. Clearly define the position and work to be performed. Describe the internship or specific job duties, job title, preferred academic major, required competencies, educational value of the internship, desired work hours, duration of the internship, application procedures, start and end dates, and compensation/stipend if available.
  3. Consider flex schedules or shifts that coincide with the work schedules of the program in which the intern will work.
  4. Work with the Human Resource team to conduct a New Intern Orientation (NIO) for both internship sponsor and the intern which includes needed training (i.e., Ethics), a brief description of the agency, agency introductions, Executive Management welcome, and Q&A. Provide a specific work area for the intern and needed office resources (computer, phone, organization email, and other on-boarding needs).
  5. Provide opportunities for the intern to work with other professional staff and clients for professional development.
  6. Provide ongoing supervision and mentoring to maximize the learning experience. Offer guidance and identify developmental opportunities that strengthen and enhance the intern’s skills, strengths and performance.
  7. Invite college/university career staff and faculty to visit interns at the worksite.
  8. Evaluate the Intern - Throughout the internship, provide ongoing and constructive evaluation of the intern’s progress.
  9. Work Experience Reviews - Provide interns with opportunities throughout the internship to periodically provide feedback or review of their work experience.
  10. Conduct exit interviews – Conduct an exit interview to review the intern’s performance and accomplishments. Also conduct an exit interview with the interns sponsor to get their views.
  • Internships will be posted on careers.wa.gov and will include all application requirements (resumes, application forms and instructions, letters of recommendation, references, etc.) and all eligibility requirements (grade level, registration with college/university for college credit, etc.), and hours required (part-time/full-time).
  • Work with the DES recruitment team to screen applicants and to respond to the applicants not considered/interviewed.
  • When reviewing application materials, consider the duties to be performed, the level of knowledge and specific job skills required, desired class level and the suitable academic majors needed to be successful.
  • Respond to applicants not interviewed or hired following guidelines offered by the DES recruitment team.
  • Perform WSP WATCH background checks on finalists through the DES recruitment team.
  • Consult with HR/LRD regarding labor implications (if work is to be performed in a bargaining unit). May need to provide 21-day notice to the union.

College Credits

  • Academic credit may or may not be available and may depend on the student’s major. Only a college/university can grant credit for an internship.
  • Interns must consult their college/university before starting an internship if they wish to earn credit. Requirements differ but may include a partnership between the student, the intern’s sponsor, and a faculty supervisor.
  • The number of college credits awarded can vary and are typically determined by the scope of the internship, the project worked on, and the number of hours worked.
  • It is the intern’s responsibility to provide his/her supervisor with required forms.