America has long been regarded as the land of opportunity. This ethos — more commonly called the American Dream — is rooted in the ideal that through hard work, anything is achievable.
Some people have come to believe that we are the generation that is bearing witness to the death of the American Dream. While the American Dream has grown more distant, I wholeheartedly assert that it is not dead. My experience has shown me that the American Dream is still alive and well in the hearts and ideals of the American people, especially our emerging youth. However, the struggle is real.
The main affliction challenging our national ethos is the erosion of opportunity, and it is acutely affecting Millennial Americans. As college tuition increases outpace growth in incomes, today’s young adults are graduating with unprecedented college loan debt — most with just a six-month runway to find a job in their field before their first loan payment is due. College career centers often lack the staff or resources to adequately assist the number of students trying to navigate this difficult landscape in a timely manner. As a result, many college graduates find themselves “underemployed,” working in jobs outside of their field of study. They’re working hard, but the Dream has already begun to fade.
Based on my life’s work and experience, I have discovered that the solution to this challenge — and the remedy to revive the American Dream — can be found in an unlikely place: internships. A veritable undiscovered frontier and certainly underutilized asset, internships are the stepping stones for Americans to create job pathways for upward mobility. Internships close the gap between education and employment by building a bridge based on experience that cultivates employable skills.
Experience is what employers desire most in new employees. Studies show that an internship carries more weight than a student’s major or grade point average when seeking a job. Students who participate in one or more paid internship programs are more likely to receive a job offer and a higher starting salary than their peers. Internships also are invaluable for those transitioning to new careers, including our many veterans returning from active duty. Internships are the opportunities for those willing to work hard enough to achieve and prosper. I founded the Internship Institute because I believe that internships are the key to unlocking the American Dream.
Planting the seeds of opportunity
The purpose of the Internship Institute is opportunity creation: to bridge the gaps between education and employment by creating quality internship opportunities for every willing individual and organization.
Our flagship initiative, Internship Seeding takes a unique, industry-driven approach to internships that cultivates opportunities at the employer worksite. The initiative develops those worksites by providing high-touch technical assistance and assuring quality and integrity through our internship program certification, providing organizations with a marketable recruitment asset.
Planting internships and nurturing them properly requires boots on the ground to support their growth until they can flourish. In this case, the Internship Institute is calling on United States military veterans to be its TrainingCorps. In addition to the significant social impact to create jobs for our honored service veterans is the obvious fact: none are better to revitalize the American Dream.
The resulting internship programs are a win-win for all involved, as businesses acquire talented new employees, nonprofits get the helping hands they need and students gain hands-on experience critical to employability.
It’s still as true today as it ever was: If you work hard, you will succeed. At the Internship Institute, this ethos is at the heart of what we believe and the driving force behind everything we do. Internships create opportunity, the fertile ground upon which our shared American Dream can flourish. The American Dream is alive and is there for those willing to reach for it.
You can help us Make Internships Matter. Your donation will help create jobs for veterans and students. Please donate today.