Why host an intern?

Hosting an OSU-Cascades student intern is an opportunity to connect with and develop new talent. Benefits to hosting interns include:

  • Student interns bring fresh perspectives and excel at the latest technologies
  • Internships provide personnel for projects beyond your daily scope and are completed within the internship timeframe
  • Discover new talent and future leaders
  • Create positive publicity for your organization and industry
  • Hire directly from a new employee candidate pool
  • Tune into student's enthusiasm and academic knowledge

Length of internships

An average internship ranges from 5 to 40 hours per week during a 10-week term. Hours and requirements will vary based on program requirements.

Please consider the following best practices:

  1. Compensate interns at the $15-20/hour range.
  2. Consider interns as part-time employees by offering employee trainings and industry best practices.
  3. Provide access to tools and resources that allow student interns to participate in daily work tasks and attend regular meetings.
  4. Schedule weekly check-ins to stay in touch with your intern and to serve as a mentor. Have the student intern reflect and apply professional experiences to their academic courses.
  5. Establish clear work expectations. Provide examples or templates, discuss preference on communication types, and establishing timelines.
  6. Regularly check-in about the students' learning objectives. Are your organizations' needs and the students' needs being addresses efficiently and effectively?
  7. Create a project that the student intern can complete within their internship timeframe. Here are some examples:
    • Research best practices and develop content based on research
    • Enhance your social media platforms
    • Develop flow-charts with contact information
    • Website development/ content creation

  • Verify that the position and duties meet the University criteria for academic internships and accurately represents the positions offered
  • Provide an orientation, precautionary safety instructions, training, and ongoing supervision for assigned duties
  • Provide a safe working environment
  • If the student is paid, understand the responsibility for providing Worker's Compensation and liability insurance in accordance with Oregon State Law, and agree to provide said coverage. If you are offering an unpaid internship, make sure to comply with Oregon State and Federal Law regarding unpaid internships.
  • Comply with Federal Laws prohibiting discrimination and afford all applicants equal consideration regardless of race, color, national origin, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion or veteran status
  • Assign an experienced professional who has expertise in the content area of the internship to supervise the student throughout the internship
  • Provide consistent and appropriate feedback through informal and formal evaluations
  • Complete a final evaluation of the student's performance

All internships must adhere to the Employer Policies set forth by Oregon State University. They must be a learning experience for the student, and have clearly defined learning objectives/goals related to the professional goals of the student’s academic coursework. Additionally:

  • The company/organization must be a legitimate established business located in commercial space.
  • An experienced professional with expertise in the content area of the internship (i.e., the "Site Supervisor") must be assigned to supervise/mentor the intern/student.  The person trains the student as needed, monitors and evaluates student's work performance.
  • Interns must be given an orientation to the organization, safety procedures, training, ongoing supervision, and evaluation.
  • It is the responsibility of the employer to cover the costs for all training, certificates, background checks, etc.
  • There are no requirements for the student to pay the employer in any form for any part of the experience.  The employer expects no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern.
  • Interns should not be considered "consultants" or be expected to provide a function that your professional staff does not have the skills to perform (i.e., create a company website, write a grant, and develop a marketing campaign) -consider hiring a student for part-time or seasonal work to perform those tasks.
  • Interns must have an appropriate workspace and tools with which to perform their duties (i.e., access to a computer, software, etc.).

Experiences that do NOT qualify as internships:

  • Commission-based positions
  • Internships located in home-based businesses
  • Situations where 100% of the work is done remotely or virtually
  • Positions in which the intern displaces a regular employee
  • Positions that require door-to-door canvassing, cold-calling, or petition gathering
  • "Independent contractor" relationships that require the intern to set up his/her own business for the purpose of selling products, services, and/or recruiting other individuals to set up their own business
  • Family-owned businesses or positions supervised by a family member
  • Telemarketing positions
  • Positions in which the student is required to pay the employer for any part of the experience (fees for training, etc.)
  • International Internships will not be approved unless the employer has successfully applied to and been approved by the OSU IE3 Global Internship Program

Any disclosure of internship/intern information is prohibited without the intern’s express written consent. FERPA laws may be applicable.

Worker’s Compensation
All student interns must be covered by an Employer/Organization’s Workers’ Compensation insurance when the student intern is defined as a “subject worker” by Oregon Workers’ Compensation Law. A “subject worker” includes any worker for an Employer/Organization where an exchange of “remuneration for services” occurs.  Remuneration is not explicitly defined; however, it may include lodging, stipends, gifts, etc.  If student interns do not meet the definition of a “subject worker”, the Employer/Organization may be able to add the student intern to its Workers’ Compensation Insurance coverage by contacting their insurance agent or carrier.  Oregon State University (OSU) only provides Workers’ Compensation insurance coverage for student interns defined as OSU “subject workers” while performing duties for OSU.  OSU does not provide Workers’ Compensation insurance coverage for student interns performing duties to non-OSU Employers/Organizations.    

Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination
Internship Employers/Organizations must subscribe to EEOC guidelines established by Federal and Oregon state law. Employers/Organizations cannot unlawfully discriminate in the selection of student interns on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion or veteran status.

Other Employment Related Laws
Employers/Organizations must adhere to all other employment related laws for student interns who perform employment related tasks including, but not limited to, acts of sexual harassment.

Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)
All Employers/Organizations shall maintain a safe working environment for student interns.  This includes complying with all OSHA rules and providing an initial safety orientation, any precautionary safety instructions, training, and ongoing supervision for assigned duties.  An experienced professional who has expertise in the content area of the internship shall be assigned to supervise the student intern throughout the internship and shall be available to the student intern in the event of any employment related accidents.

Hold Harmless or Indemnity Agreements
Because of the concern over liability during student internships, some Employers/Organizations may require Oregon State University and/or the student intern to sign a hold-harmless or indemnity agreement. Student interns are PROHIBITED from signing an Employer/Organization’s hold-harmless or indemnity agreement on behalf of Oregon State University.  If an Employer/Organization desires to enter into an on-going internship arrangement, all agreements between the Employer/Organization must be signed by one of the 16 authorized signators for Oregon State University through the Procurement and Contract Services Office. In some cases, Employers/Organizations have asked students to sign a release of liability as a condition to accepting an internship. Student interns are recommended to NOT sign personal hold-harmless or indemnity agreements that assume liability as a condition to accepting an internship.

Fair Labor Standards Act (Unpaid Internships)
Employers/Organizations must be aware of and ensure compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), before classifying a student intern as an unpaid "trainee." If a student intern is considered an "employee" for purposes of the FLSA, then the employer must pay its student interns at least the minimum wage. The Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division developed a six-factor test for determining whether workers are considered "trainees" under the FLSA: Under the Department of Labor’s Fair Labor Standards Act, six criteria have been instituted to define an unpaid intern.  They are as follows:

  • The training, even though it includes actual operations of the facilities of the employers, is similar to that which would be given in a vocational school.
  • The training is for the benefit of the student.
  • The student does not displace a regular employee, but works under the close observation of a regular employee or supervisor.
  • The employer provides the training and derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the student; and on occasion, the operations may actually be impeded by the training.
  • The student is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the training period.
  • The employer and the student understand that the student is not entitled to wages for the time spent training.

Interested in hosting an intern?

Contact the Career Development Center at