More apply for Yale-New Haven internships

For some students, Yale is not the only employer in town.

The third installment of the Yale-New Haven Internship program saw a 27-percent increase in the number of applicants from last year, a success organizers attributed to more diverse types of internships and the introduction of a few paid internships for the first time. Participants interviewed said they are happy with the opportunity for off-campus work experience. But coordinator Ayaska Fernando ’08 said he hopes to reach out to employers and alumni to expand the number of paid positions in the future in order to make the jobs more accessible.

Fernando said the success of the program — which is the result of a joint venture between the Yale College Council and the Office of New Haven and State Affairs — can be seen in the numbers, and in some applicants’ decision to apply for multiple positions.

“For 2007, we had 37 applicants applying to a total of 56 placement sites,” he said. “But for this year, we increased those numbers significantly and had 47 applicants, applying to a total of 91 placement sites. We were able to place 26 of them at internship sites.”

The increased interest in the program this year is due to the expansion of its network of internship sites and diversified offerings, including positions in consulting, Fernando said.

Fernando said that even with these expansions, he hopes to keep the program simple and targeted at students with a genuine interest in the positions in New Haven.

“Simple means sustainable,” he said.

In order to provide for more opportunities in the future, Fernando said, he met with Christina Coffin ’74, a board member of the Yale Club of New Haven, about engaging alumni with the program. He said Coffin indicated that alumni would be happy to offer positions, and even compensation, in next year’s program.

Limited funding remains the program’s chief obstacle, Fernando said. He said OHNSA and the YCC provide enough money for his administrative expenses. But he said that in the future, he would like to see at least interns’ transportation covered, possibly through the support of alumni.

Next year’s coordinator will meet with Coffin at the beginning of the fall semester to iron out the details, Fernando said.

The interns have been at work since early February, and a few plan to continue through the summer.

“It is a great experience to see what work is like on a daily basis,” said Alison Hoyt ’09, an intern at Studio ABK Architects LLC. “The employers know our needs and give us really exciting projects.”

Other students interviewed said they have taken advantage of the program’s goal of establishing an active relationship between Yale students and New Haven.

David Price ’08, an intern in the mayor’s office, said his internship has improved his understanding of the city.

“It is exciting to see how political decisions are made in New Haven,” Price said.

Still, financial limitations are a concern for some participants.

Walker Frahm ’10, an intern at the Universal Healthcare Foundation of Connecticut, said he enjoys the time he spends at his internship but thinks compensation would encourage him to work even more.

“I haven’t really been that much involved with my internship because I have to work at a couple other places,” Frahm said. “But if the internship were paid, I would make it a bigger priority.”

Starting in February of each year, selected students intern from five to 10 hours per week, unpaid, and work on a project that can be finished within a semester. New Haven Legal Assistance, City Hall, CitySeed, New Haven Economic Security Coalition and Studio ABK Architects LLC are among this year’s internship sites.

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