Thoughts from UW-Madison’s Matthew Hora were featured in a USA Today article discussing how internships are evolving amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hora is the director of the Center for Research on College-Workforce Transitions, which is housed within the School of Education’s Wisconsin Center for Education Research. He also is an assistant professor with the Department of Liberal Arts and Applied Studies.
While COVID-19 has caused the cancellation of in-person summer internships, many are confident that they can provide meaningful virtual experiences instead. Big companies like Humana and Liberty Mutual have already offered virtual internships and have worked from home on smaller scales prior to the pandemic.
The real challenge, according to the USA Today article, will be adjusting the infrastructure of internships to suit virtual experiences.
“It’s going to be tough for some companies,” Hora told USA Today. “Converting to working remotely requires a bit of forethought as to how to design meaningful tasks and how to supervise them in a productive way.”
Internships this summer, which will be at a distance, are likely to face some issues because interns are not onsite. It will be hard for them to develop soft skills, the 21st-century skills that you get from teamwork and oral communication, said Hora.
“To really learn those, it requires immersion in the social environment,” Hora tells USA Today. “Nurses and mechanical engineers need to be immersed in the hospital and on the oil rig to really understand the job, to really learn to problem solve on the fly.”
Read the USA Today article here.