To speed and ease the transition from education to employment in data fields, many community colleges are establishing data internships. Internships provide students with immediate opportunities to apply their data skills and knowledge to the tasks and problems challenging data workers in today’s workplaces. Internships benefit both students and employers. They provide students with opportunities to work on data teams, to learn to solve real-world data problems found in local industries, and to develop new data skills working in industry sectors that interest them. Interns learn about the world of work while also developing employability skills and learning, first-hand, how to fit in and succeed in various workplace cultures. Employers benefit from interns as well. Without making long-term commitments, employers are able to assess interns as potential employees, evaluating their technical skills, employability, and soft skills such as their ability to solve problems, learn on their feet, and adapt to new situations. Additionally, the ongoing communication between employers and faculty provides employers with opportunities to help shape curriculum to ensure that graduates are able to meet the skill demands of their workplaces. Colleges benefit from the close connections with business partners, deepening their understanding of the specific skills needed by local employers. This close relationship provides colleges with the information needed to keep their curriculum current with industry’s expectations, thereby adding value to their data programs.
The Guide for Data Worker Internships provides a structured process that employers can follow to design meaningful student internships that contribute to their business goals. It includes resources to help employers and partner colleges shape student experiences and tools to help them evaluate student performance.