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By Zachary Smith-Tulino

CCC Journalism Program

BLACKWOOD – Students interested in internships are facing new hurdles during the pandemic.

Acquiring an internship is known to take much effort and time. Now it is even harder for students to make connections with companies because of the COVID-19 restrictions on campuses and in workplaces. As students get adjusted to the new protocol for online classes, they also have to adjust how they reach out to businesses that offer internships.

Social distancing signs are everywhere on the Camden County College campus in Blackwood as COVID-19 is still present in everyday life. By Zachary Smith-Tulino, CCC Journalism Program

So what do the students do now?

Former Camden County College student Nick Earnshaw said he was able to capitalize on opportunities before the pandemic arose but the opportunities vanished as the pandemic worsened.

“When I was at Camden County, I joined the radio station, which allowed me to connect with some great people and network a bit,” Earnshaw said. “I did apply to various companies for internships to try and get some additional experience which did not end up working out because I received multiple emails from companies saying they are cancelling the internship.”

The National Association of Colleges and Employers recently found an estimated 22 percent of employers have taken back internship offers. For Earnshaw and other students, COVID-19 has not only changed the way they apply for an internship, it has affected their future endeavors.

Camden County College Career Services Adviser Derena Shafer said internship opportunities still exist but they may just be harder to find.

“I believe it may take a little more time and effort to secure an internship but I definitely feel the opportunities exist,” Shafer said. “Bear in mind that while some companies may not be hiring now, hosting an intern is an excellent way for those companies to offset a staff shortage. Also, there are some industries that are doing very well right now. Not every industry is suffering.  So while there may be less opportunities in particular areas, I think that is balanced by new opportunities that perhaps didn’t exist before.”

As college classes move online, so does the internship process. Forty-six percent of employers are shifting their internship programs to a virtual format, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Recent national coverage of the struggle to find internships:

https://www.wtvq.com/2020/10/20/college-students-struggle-to-find-internships-in-midst-of-pandemic/

https://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/articles/how-college-students-can-get-a-job-internship-during-coronavirus?rec-type=usn

A page on the Camden County College website provides information about internships.

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