There is one challenge that administrators of minority internship programs face. This is the challenge of ensuring that the internships actually have an impact – and that the said impact of the internships is really felt in the minority communities. To deal with this challenge, we propose the following three strategies: that is, strategies that can be put in place, to ensure that the impact of minority internships is really felt.
Firstly, if the impact of minority internships is to be really felt, then it is essential that the number of internships on offer be huge enough. It makes no sense to offer two or three internship opportunities per year, and then expect to be making a huge impact. This would be a huge failure, especially if your work revolves entirely around the area of minority internships administration.
Secondly, if the impact of minority internships is to be really felt, then it is essential that the internships be awarded to the most deserving people. This can be the most difficult aspect of the whole thing: because it is not always very easy to figure out who the said ‘most deserving people’ are. These could, in the final analysis, be the most deserving people by virtue of merit. Or they could be the most deserving people in terms of needs analysis. All in all, the internship opportunities need to go to the most deserving people, if the whole thing is to have any real impact.
Thirdly, if the impact of minority internships is to be really felt, then it is critical that the internships be at reasonably good (that is, reasonably prestigious) organizations. Only then would the internships look good on recipients’ resumes. Even if it is impossible to get enough internship opportunities at companies like Google, Microsoft, General Electric and so on, attempts should nonetheless be made to get internship opportunities at the bigger and better-known employers of the masses. Here, we are referring to the likes of Walmart (in the corporate offices), UPS, DHL and so on. It is worth noting that a good number of the people who work for a company like UPS — and therefore use UPS’ HR website (that is, www.upsers.com) — are from minority groups. Some of these are actually folks who are ultimately deployed in sensitive departments: like for instance, the UPS package tracking section as well as the mail handling sections. The inference we can make here is to the effect that minorities can indeed get good internship opportunities at companies like UPS. But that can only happen if they take the initiative to apply for such internships, and to follow through their applications.