Internship Fund opens turns unpaid internships into paid ones

Students able to earn money from UW-Eau Claire for completing unpaid internships

Cade Fisher

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Photo by Cade Fisher

Career Services is open to answer any questions and find potential internships this fund could be applied to.

UW-Eau Claire created an internship fund to allow students to turn unpaid internships into paid opportunities starting this summer.

According to the Career Services website, undergraduate students in all majors are able to receive up to $3000 for unpaid internships like non-profits, government agencies and startup companies.

The fund prefers applicants who apply to industries that typically don’t have paid internship opportunities. Also, there is a preference given to students with financial hardships.

According to the fund’s article on the UW-Eau Claire website, the fund has a few requirements for students. The first being the students are expected to graduate on or after August 2023. 

The internship also needs to be at least 200 hours long, within 30 miles of the UW-Eau Claire campus and not an on-campus employer.

Staci Heidtke, the director of Career Services, said this fund is a great way to connect students to the community by connecting them to businesses and industries in the Chippewa Valley they wouldn’t otherwise have access to.

The application for the fund, according to Career Services, is found on Handshake. The application requires a resume, three references and a letter of application.

The letter of application has three section: students need to describe their financial hardship, explain why they should be selected for the fund and then add either a description of their internship if they have it secured or an explanation of the type of internships they are looking at and where they are in the process.

According to Career Services, applications for this summer open in early spring of 2023. Interns will be interviewed from April 1-15 and recipients will be notified of their status on April 21. 

Heidtke said a fund like this has a lot of potential to help students take internships and not also have to pick up a part-time job.

“Our goal is to increase the number of UW-Eau Claire students that complete internships. I think internships lead to career success which is an outcome of college for students and families,” Heidtke said.

The total amount a recipient can possibly receive is $3000 based on the number of hours and weeks worked. The general rate career services is using is $15 per hour.

According to Career Services, students will work with them to craft a job description, set internship goals, complete hiring paperwork to get paid and participate in strategic communication to keep the internship fund going.

“Making sure that it is as easy as possible for students to be able to participate in an internship and for the employer to accept an intern,” Heidtke said.

According to a UW-Eau Claire article, the first recipient of the internship fund is Nik Carpenter, an exercise science student, who has been interning at Eau Claire’s Sacred Heart Hospital.

The internship fund has been used before and is open for students to turn unpaid internships into paid ones this summer.

“Students have a bottom line of meeting financial income and they need money to pay for college and their expenses,” Heidtke said. “For some of them, taking an unpaid internship just isn’t an option and so this helps level the playing field for our students.”

The internship fund is funded entirely by donations. Anyone can donate to this fund online.

Fisher can be reached at [email protected].