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Analysis: Students of Color Less Likely to Have Paid Internships

September 10, 2020

Black students are more likely to be in unpaid internships and participated in more unpaid internships than their white peers, according to new research from the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

NACE analyzed data from its 2019 Student Survey Report from 470 member colleges and universities, and specifically looked at the internship experiences of 3,952 seniors who graduated in spring of 2019. Though Black students made up 6.6 percent of the graduating students, they held only 6 percent of paid internships and 7.3 percent of unpaid internships, a press release about the analysis said. Hispanic and Latino students in the Class of 2019 were more likely than any other racial group to have had no internship by graduation, the release said.

The analysis also identified “statistically significant” gender-based disproportionality; women were less likely than their male counterparts to have had a paid internship, the release said. First-generation students were also less likely to be paid as an intern compared to students whose parents went to college, the release said. Shawn VanDerziel, executive director of NACE, said in the release that such disproportionality trends could continue into full-time hiring practices by employers.

“Looking at how they source and select interns is critical for those that are committed to diversifying their workforces,” VanDerziel said. “NACE data show that, overall, Black students use the career center more than other races/ethnicities, not only in total number of visits, but also proportionally. These results suggest that career centers can be an important campus resource for employers to use to reduce inequities that exist in their internship programs.”

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