Internship placement program

SEEN THIS MORNING
March 5, 2009 4:49:38 PM PST
Internships can help college students get experience and beef up their resumes. But, the competition is tough.That's why a growing number of families are spending big bucks hoping to get their kids a plum internship--and a better chance in the job market. Hannah Green is in ad sales for a professional networking Website. Before that, she was at Yahoo. She was also an intern at the Union Bank of Switzerland.

"There's no way I'd be in San Francisco and gotten my career going the way it did without it. No doubt," says Hannah.

Hannah got her internship through University of Dreams, one of several internship placement services that has opened in recent years. Students learn to polish their resume and interviewing skills, and are introduced to the people hiring interns in 20 cities across the country, including New York.

University of Dreams sets up housing, meals, transportation and outside activities. It doesn't come cheap -- fees range from $5,000 to $10,000, but your money is returned if you aren't placed.

"It is an investment. It's the finishing piece for a lot of students. This is the one thing they need help on," says founder Eric Lochtefeld. He says his business has grown 1,000 percent in the last five years.

Career consultant Joe Boucher says paying big bucks for a summer job shows just how competitive the market has become. "Internships are I think, they're not really an option anymore."

Critics say these programs give an unfair advantage to students from affluent families who can afford the fees. But Eric Lochtefeld says his service is most beneficial to students who don't have family connections or who don't attend elite universities with vast resources.

Erin Proctor got a coveted internship with the fashion house, Escada in New York City thanks to University of Dreams. "Most of the positions go to people within the company, friends or family, daughters. I was the only one who didn't have a personal connection to the company"

Hannah says University of Dreams put her on the right path by teaching her things she didn't learn in school. "No one tells you, okay here's what you need to get a job, here is why networking is so important, here's how to set yourself apart in your resume. That is what I really took away from the program"


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