CINCINNATI, Ohio — With the coronavirus cancelling in-person classes this summer at Ohio Universities, a cloud hangs over internship programs that students need to complete in order to graduate or find employment after graduation.

  • The University of Cincinnati hosted a webinar to address the current state of internships, including how to continue summer programs remotely
  • Experts from NextUp Solutions, Dell, Inc., FIS Global, and the University of Cincinnati all took part in the discussion
  • NextUp Solutions CEO Steve Cooper says students should continue to pursue career opportunities through internships because students are more valuable to companies now that ever

As precautions to limit person to person contact continue through social distancing practices, college students looking for a summer internship have a cloud of doubt hanging over them.

“Internships are an important way that careers get started,” NextUp Solutions CEO Steve Cooper said. “And they’re an important way for members to get introduced to your workforce.”

He said although most summer events are cancelled, internships shouldn’t be put on hold, but rather transitioned online. Adding, students shouldn’t feel reluctant to apply for an internship they need.

“Everyone has some form of imposter syndrome, of course,” Cooper said. “Feeling like you’re underqualified or unqualified for something. Just because door number one may have closed for you, don’t give up. Realize there are a whole lot more doors opening and maybe it was meant for you to be a part of a different internship."

His company NextUp Solutions, who has the third-best technology internship in the country, is moving forward with plans to allow students the chance to carry their internships remotely.

“When we’re building software, for example, for our clients, we’re doing them with college students on campus, and now we’re doing them remotely,” he said. “They are obviously connecting to us, to our centers, they’re being mentored by us remotely. Now they’re supporting our clients remotely.”

NextUp Solutions was one of several companies that hosted a webinar with the University of Cincinnati to recruit students into internships and co-op internship opportunities this summer. 266 people attended the session virtually.

One student from Virginia Tech, Katheryn Osmond, who’s a graduating senior, has been working with NextUp’s Exelaration Center for nearly two years. She said that experience has proven to be invaluable, as it’s led to her lining up a job directly after college.

“Honestly it’s given me such professional skills that I wouldn’t have had if hadn’t of had it,” Osmond said. “I’m just incredibly grateful for all the opportunities that I’ve been given and all the things I’ve been able to learn before I even graduate.”

Cooper said while the pandemic is serious, and businesses should take every precaution necessary to keep employees and interns safe, they shouldn’t be deterred by today’s state of affairs. Rather, they should find new ways to adapt and encourage students to take interest, because they are the future of their workforce.

"If you introduce them to an enriching career, a great boss, an engaging culture right now through an internship, they will seek that as their future employer and not be distracted by the shiny objects, which are the glamour employers, if you will,” he said.