The Value of Internships

Published: February 10, 2016

On Jan. 21, Kenosha News Editorial Page Editor Steve Lund wrote, "Promoting real-world, career-track experiences for students will be good for students. If state officials are correct that companies are having a hard time finding candidates for certain skilled jobs, internships might be valuable to the employers as well."

I couldn't agree more. At UW-Parkside we are focused on preparing students to meet the region's knowledge needs, today and in the future. The ability to learn new skills, work collaboratively to develop solutions, and deliver results in competitive industries is greatly dependent on community and business connections that enable students to learn in the same professional environments where they will contribute upon graduation.

Across all academic disciplines, we are dedicated to equipping students with both academic knowledge and high-impact learning experiences. Internships serve as a cornerstone on the path to graduation by providing an important set of problem-solving opportunities that accelerate learning. Hundreds of UW-Parkside students who participate in internships and experiential-based learning report satisfaction knowing their projects benefit the community and help focus life and career goals. Here is a recap for this academic year:

  • More than 400 businesses and community partners in southeastern Wisconsin and northeastern Illinois are offering internships, volunteer opportunities, community-based learning experiences, and real-world projects to UW-Parkside students.
  • More than 1,600 students – a third of all UW-Parkside students – are engaged in direct-learning experiences with business or community partners.
  • Just over 400 students are participating in projects through the Ralph Jaeschke Solutions for Economic Growth Center, working with 80 regional clients.
  • 100 teacher candidates in the UW-Parkside Institute of Professional Educator Development are providing more than 3,000 hours of in-classroom service to schools in Kenosha and Racine counties.
  • 1,110 students are participating in community-based learning courses, a 10-percent increase over the previous year.

While these statistics are impressive, it's the story they tell that's important. Every day, UW-Parkside students and faculty are working in collaboration with our business community to develop the talent needed for sustained success. The strategic alignment of faculty, students, businesses, and community organizations creates learning experiences based on real-world challenges.

And, we welcome new business and community partners as we develop internships and community-based learning experiences to prepare students for tomorrow's opportunities. Please contact me at or our Advising and Career Center at – or visit to learn more.

Debbie Ford
Chancellor, University of Wisconsin-Parkside

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