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Texas Students Find That Washington Internships Can Open Doors for Jobs in Future

Texas Students Find That Washington Internships Can Open Doors for Jobs in Future

The Dallas Morning News

August 31, 2009

Aug. 31—WASHINGTON — Internships have always been touted as a way to build resumes, gain experience and network. But in the grim economy, they have added appeal as job leads.

Though the positions often carry only meager stipends, they hold the promise of better paychecks to come. So with full-time jobs scarce, many interns from Texas are scraping by in Washington this summer — finding free entertainment, picking up extra work on the side, and saving on whatever they can.

While looking for a permanent gig in broadcast journalism, Kennea Anderson of Houston is interning at Capital Wire Public Relations. The 23-year-old, who recently graduated from Clark Atlanta University, had planned on doing an unpaid internship this summer but said the financial hardship of that decision hit her recently.

“I’ve been going online, finding part-time things to do to make ends meet since I’ve gotten here,” Anderson said. She has considered working in a restaurant for extra income.

Anderson has had internships at media outlets in the past and hopes those connections will translate into a job.

It’ll be tough: A National Association of Colleges and Employers survey found that less than 20 percent of 2009 college graduates have jobs, down 6 percent from last year. But 73 percent of those who had been hired completed a college internship.

Lynne Milburn, director of the Career Exploration Center at the University of Texas, advises jobseekers like Anderson to intern at places they hope to work. Companies prefer to hire internally, and if a position opens up, a good intern’s at the top of the resume pile.

“To do a postgraduate internship is not a bad idea if they feel like they can’t enter through the traditional door,” Milburn said.

In the meantime, an internship is a test of survival.

But Washington can be the perfect place for interns with light pocketbooks, thanks to the availability of plenty of cheap entertainment. Matthew Simari from Plano has searched out the city’s bargains in his down time from the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States in nearby Alexandria, Va.