The Chronicle of Higher Education recently reported on important research being conducted by UW-Madison’s Matthew Hora that examines internships.
Hora, an expert on the topic, is the director of UW-Madison’s Center for Research on College-Workforce Transitions (CCWT), which is housed within the School of Education’s Wisconsin Center for Education Research. He also serves as an assistant professor of adult and higher education.
While economists usually lead discourse surrounding work, Hora’s roots are in anthropology. He takes a qualitative approach “to shed light on the messy process by which companies hire talent and people seek out work.”
The Chronicle of Higher Education notes Hora’s book, “Beyond the Skills Gap: Preparing College Students for Life and Work,” unpacks the common assumption that companies can’t find workers with appropriate skills and training. Instead, Hora argues the perceived “skills gap” might be a result biases in the workplace culture.
Hora and his team at the CCWT are also interested in internships, which are considered important in the “college-to-career pipeline.” While internships are largely beneficial for students, Hora points out to the Chronicle that there are issues that aren’t being discussed.
According to Hora’s research, internship opportunities are not widely advertised, making them more available to an “insider.” Even if a position is well-advertised, however, there are still multiple obstacles facing students.
“It’s often a combination of things,” Hora tells the Chronicle. Many students must work to pay for college and support families while in school, and few have the transportation capabilities that may be necessary. Additionally, internship opportunities are less clear-cut for students focusing on the social sciences, arts, and humanities.
Hora notes that these factors often disproportionately affect first-generation students, “which means that ‘the whole reproduction-of-privilege thing is highly problematic.’”
While the world of internships presents challenges to students, Hora explains that there are solutions. Colleges in Australia, for example, are shifting towards work-integrated learning. There’s also a rise in micro-internships, with shorter duration and fewer work demands, which could provide opportunities to more students.
“It’s not just repackaging them,” he says. “It’s kind of recognizing that those opportunities that are linked to authentic problems from a nonacademic professional setting, if done well, can be just as good as an internship.”
Source : https://education.wisc.edu/news/chronicle-of-higher-education-spotlights-horas-internship-research/
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