While Covid-19 has rattled almost every institution across America, the future of the economy is a major issue. One demographic that has been severely affected has been the college age group of young adults who have lost opportunities to gain professional work experience in their respective fields of study. Where the summer prior to graduation is a key season to gaining professional experience at a firm or expanding a resume, the new reality has seen these opportunities dry up as employment has moved remote or disbanded altogether. This creates a dilemma for soon-to-be graduates and employers alike.
On the part of the students, they lose first and foremost the opportunity to get income to cover the many expenses of college. These jobs, apprenticeships, internships, etc. are the backbone of a college student’s ability to cover living expenses outside of tuition and room and board. This can significantly reduce the ability of a student to maintain health, grades, and budget stability at school. As traditional summer jobs dwindle, potential workers lose income. This is not to say that there are no jobs available, but considering the May unemployment numbers, the rate of 13 percent makes it hard to even find a part-time job in a local town to make and save money for school next fall.
Additionally, the rising seniors whose student careers are reaching their final acts are losing a crucial aspect of their ability to present themselves to professional firms for full-time employment upon graduation with the minimization and cancellation of internships. These jobs are a trial run for students to enter the professional labor force; however, there is an even more crucial role these jobs play. Students are learning how to act properly in a professional or corporate space in order to become acclimated to the pace and experience of the work. This can lead to a full-time position offering at the conclusion of the prescribed term, a leg up on other candidates for future employment and at the very least, the knowledge and wisdom to know what work you want to do (or not do) in the future.
On the part of employers, however, the situation seems more grim. Not only is their ability to hire hindered at the moment due to the economic slowdown that has resulted from the Covid-19 pandemic, but there is now more busywork on the shoulders of full-time employees which an otherwise competent summer intern could just as easily fulfill while gaining knowledge and savvy in the industry. This will likely lead to a decline in productivity if companies seek to maintain a sense of normalcy throughout the summer. Further, the firms become unable to vet the work ethic and drive of their interns at work, it thus increases the difficulty for these firms to hire in the upcoming hiring classes, if they can even afford to.
Now while the outcome may seem grim, there is hope for college students to cobble together some professional employment this summer. Websites like Handshake, Ziprecruiter, and Indeed connect students with the resources to find potential summer employers for internships, part-time, and full-time positions.
Additionally, many colleges and universities have resources online to connect students to potential employers in smaller-focused, shorter micro-internships. Also, they can connect to alumni across industries to help place students with requisite skills in positions where they can succeed even in these uncertain times.
With these resources in mind, there may be opportunities available even for those whose plans for the summer fell through last-minute.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.