Are Virtual Internships the Next Big Thing?

As many of you know we recently released a white paper on virtual internships.  We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response and have started some great discussions with colleges and universities around the topic.

Dreama Lee will be presenting the white paper at the upcoming Cooperative Education and Internship Association’s (CEIA) annual conference in April.

But we aren’t the only ones talking about virtual internships.  In the past week or so numerous articles have surfaced about virtual internships mostly around Colombia University’s new virtual internship program.

Including articles in Business Week and the San Francisco Chronicle claiming that virtual internships are rising in demand by both the intern and employers alike.

Another announcement surfaced a week after we released our White Paper from the National Association of Colleges and Employers announcing virtual internships are in decline.  Many have argued their preliminary findings are not a good measure as they only poll their own members, of which, most are large employers.  I’d also be interested in seeing how these virtual internship numbers in decline stack up to the actual overall decline in internships being offered by their member companies.  That would be an interesting statistic.  I hope they release that information along with their findings thus far on virtual internships.

Our conversations with other online intern “matching” sites like and Urban Interns have indicated that, in fact, they have seen an uptick in virtual internship postings.

And as you can see from this heated discussion on remote internships in NACE’s LinkedIn group that, in fact, virtual internships are a hot topic!

Another interesting company I ran across recently in an article in Fast Company on virtual internships was Toolwire.  Toolwire has “gaming technology” that allows a student to simulate an internship experiences virtually, preparing them for real life.  Incredible technology and we are keen to learn more!

What do you think?  Are virtual internships on the rise?  Can they help fill the void for individuals trying to find an internship but can’t afford the costs, etc. associated with traditional internships?  Can they be a way for more businesses to offer internships?

We’d love to hear your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

So as you can see virtual internships have been getting a lot of press lately and we are excited about their future and the opportunities they will allow for interns and employers alike.



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