Work-study or internship programs are designed to give college students an opportunity to complement their formal education with career-related experience. Historically these programs have been initiated by universities as a formal part of their curriculum, however more and more students and businesses are taking an active role in organizing these beneficial programs.

in order to compete in today's professional environment, students often need more than just a college degree. The lengthening periods of formal education for growing numbers of young people have changed the work/education pattern. In addition, businesses are putting pressure on schools to better prepare students for the actual requirements of their first position. These factors have created an increasing demand from students and universities for more and better internship experiences.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) supports work-study and internship programs because they help prepare students to work effectively in the business world after graduation. Gaining real-world experience also helps the participants to make more informed career choices which will result in higher job satisfaction and higher productivity.

SHRM developed a guidebook to assist its professional and student chapters to create new internship opportunities and to improve upon existing programs for the mutual benefit of all participants. One goal of the Society's student membership program is to increase the number of work-study and internship experiences available in human resource management (HRM). A greater number of internship opportunities will result in better placement of HRM graduates, and a higher level of experience and professionalism among these entry-level workers.

This guide outlines the steps necessary to create a successful internship or work-study program. It lists both the responsibilities and the benefits for each participant; the SHRM chapter, the university, the employer, and the student. Please use the information as a model in developing or enhancing your own work-study or internship programs.