Despite this increased national attention on work-based learning opportunities, internship programs vary markedly from college to college, and very few mechanisms exist for evaluating the quality of the experiences they offer students. Hoping to overcome these challenges, Ascendium Education Group (formerly Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation and Affiliates) established the Career Readiness Internship (CRI) program in 2015.
This MDRC report presents
findings from an analysis of the implementation of the CRI
program at these colleges as well as student and employer perspectives of the program. Overall, the study found that colleges were successful at recruiting large numbers of low-income and traditionally underserved students into the program and providing them valuable career-focused internship experiences. Additionally, employers tended to have high regard for the program and their collaborations with the colleges. Nevertheless, colleges had difficulties maintaining and expanding the CRI
program at the conclusion of the grant period, suggesting that more needs to be done to help colleges institutionalize the program.