GVSU testing program to streamline internship forms online

Oct. 26, 2009

ALLLENDALE, Mich. — Students at Grand Valley State University who have heard tales of stressful paperwork to sign up for an internship are about to find themselves in a different story.

GVSU is working on a pilot program to put all internship paperwork entirely online, thereby reducing the amount of paperwork for students, instructors, supervisors, and university staff.

The program, which will be tested out with students in the School of Communications in winter 2010, is expected to ease the hassles associated with internships at Grand Valley.

Assistant director of Career Services Rachel Becklin said: “Right now the way its done is a student finds an internship they talk with their academic adviser about it, they have to fill out a paper evaluation form which is five carbon copies deep so everything kind of gets skewed, so it’s not the easiest process.”

Paperwork for students in the School of Communications is currently found on the department’s web site. Students must download and print documents, fill out the necessary data, bring the paperwork to their internship supervisor, and then return the paperwork to the department office.

The new automated process would allow for students to fill out their relevant information online, and allow the internship supervisor to access the web site from their location and put in their data, without the need of the student to return the documents to the school’s office.

Belkin said that because the current process relies heavily on paper, when entry gets put into computers there is room for errors. One aim of the program is to minimize those errors.

“This data is already put into a database so we’re not going to have to go through and type it in all the time,” said Belkin.

Word of the coming program is starting to spread outside of the Career Services department. Tim Penning, public relations instructor at GVSU, wrote on his Twitter page: “Working with GVSU Career Services and IT to make internship plan approval and evaluation process entirely online.”

According to Belkin, the new program will be available to the School of Communications students by mid-November. The school hopes to make the program available campus-wide by fall 2010.

According to Rosemary Haefner, VP of Human Resources for CareerBuilder.com, who posted an article on the importance of internships, working in a temporary capacity, is an excellent way for students to gain experience.

“Internships help not only to build skill sets and establish successful track records, but they offer great networking opportunities to land a full-time position after graduation,” Haefner said in her article.

GVSU Political Science major Alexis Stanczuk wrote on the blog for Grand Valley State University Political Science, International Relations, and Pre-law about the need to be competitive when it comes to looking for and securing an internship.

“You have to remember that a lot of people are out of work right now, and they are taking internships hoping these unpaid positions will turn into a real job,” Stanczuk wrote.

For Grand Valley students who are unsure of if their resume is good enough to be noticed by employers, GVSU Career Services will be holding a workshop on effective resume building. The workshop will be held on Nov. 4 at 2263 Kirkhof. Pre-registration is required at www.gvsu.edu/lakerjobs.

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