Home to Texas™ summer internships in brief:
- Participating students have completed their first year at UT Austin and are generally still open to a variety of career options.
- Students will be placed in the community they consider their “hometown” (or within commuting distance of their hometown).
- Students receive a $5,000 scholarship from UT Austin.
- Students work 40 hours/week for their assigned employers.
- The 9-week internship period is June 1 to July 31, 2020.
- In addition to their 40 hours/week with employers, Home to TexasTM students are required to conduct research on their home communities and report back to the IC² Institute. Students are encouraged to schedule research interviews during lunchtime or before or after work, but may occasionally ask employers to “flex” their schedules in order to conduct a research interview.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) from Employers
Do students expect any other payment beyond the $5,000 scholarship from UT Austin?
Students do not expect further payment from employers. The $5,000 stipend is sent directly from UT Austin, and employers do not need to put students on their payroll. Employer contributions to the UT Austin Home to TexasTM Scholarship Fund are encouraged and can be made online.
Do students expect to receive benefits (i.e., health, vacation, etc.) from employers?
Employers are not expected to provide typical “employee benefits.” Of course, we expect that the experience of engaging in work with the organization will be positive and informing and in that way will benefit the student.
What about insurance to cover possible injuries at the work site? Will UT Austin pay for that?
UT Austin does not enroll Home to Texas™ students in any kind of employment insurance. Each participating organization should make provisions as appropriate and in keeping with its policies and procedures for visitors to its work sites.
May we hire the student to work for us for additional weeks in August?
This arrangement would be completely up to you and the student—following the internship. The student should not be asked to commit to any such arrangement prior to accepting the Home to Texas™ internship.
Will every employer who applies for a Home to Texas™ intern receive one?
We currently have funding for placement of four interns in each targeted community. If funding increases, more placements may be possible. We expect to receive more than four employer applications from each community. Thus, with current funding levels, some employers will not be able to receive an intern during this cycle.
All employers who apply to the program will be invited to the Home to Texas™ event held in their community during an evening (TBD) in July. At that event, employers will be able to meet participating students, visiting UT Austin representatives, and community members who care about the program, and discuss how the Home to Texas™ program can benefit their organization.
We hope to be able to increase the number of placements every year with a target of 200 placements state-wide in 2025.
Employers who want a Home to Texas™ intern for their organization in addition to the four UT-sponsored placements can make a donation to the Home to Texas™ Scholarship Fund to cover the cost of their intern’s stipend, thus increasing the number of placements per community.
Will we get to choose the student who will work for our organization? What if we need a student with specific skills or technical abilities?
Employers should not count on getting a specific or technical skill set from Home to Texas™ interns. All Home to Texas™ interns will have had the benefit of at least a year of education at UT Austin in which they will have enhanced their communication, research, and analysis skills. We are proud of the creativity and thoughtfulness that we see UT Austin students display. Many students also have special abilities that can be valuable to organizations in unique or common work situations. However, employers should not expect to engage a student who is ready to take on the work of professional staff. Employers should expect a conscientious and motivated intern who is willing to participate in both the exciting and mundane activities of any viable enterprise or organization.
From the pool of available students who applied to be a part of the Home to Texas™ program, IC² will suggest a student for each employer accepted into the program. The employer will have the opportunity to review the student’s resume, interview the student via telephone, and conduct background checks or any other pre-screening typically required by the organization. The employer can then accept or reject the suggested placement. If the employer rejects the suggested student, IC² may be able to suggest an alternate candidate but cannot guarantee a placement.
When will we know if we are accepted into the program?
We plan to accept provisionally employers in early February and notify them of their status at that time. Final placements will depend on matches that are acceptable to both employers and students.
How will you determine which employers to accept into the program?
We are seeking a diversity of employers for each community and opportunities that will be appropriately challenging for and interesting to our students. Internship descriptions that include mentoring and opportunities to learn about the organization’s mission and vision and interact with a variety of employees may be favored.
When will we receive the resume of the student suggested for our organization?
We plan to contact employers in early March with suggested placement information.
Why are Home to Texas™ students required to do community research? What does this have to do with the internship?
The Home to Texas™ program has been designed to increase the connectivity between the student and her/his hometown and to inform the student about post-college opportunities in the community. By engaging in a formal research project to gather new information on their city, the Home to Texas™ student will begin to perceive the community not merely as a childhood home but as a multi-faceted community with both challenges and opportunities. She/he will also be able to envision having a positive impact on the community. Our experience has shown that this research and reflection cause the student to feel more interested in pursuing career opportunities in the community.
Additionally, we are providing students with experience in real research and developing their skills to gather and analyze both qualitative and quantitative data.
Will you report on the outcomes of the program? How will you know if the program is working?
We plan to gather longitudinal data over several years, tracking participants’ choices concerning careers and location preferences. We hope both to publish our findings and to share information informally with our community partners.
What if an intern begins engagement with our organization but becomes a problem for the organization? Can we fire the intern?
In the unlikely event that this occurs, we ask that the following steps be taken:
- The employer should contact the UT Austin Home to Texas™ coordinator at the first sign of a problem or concerns. Simultaneously, the employer should discuss concerns with the intern.
- A representative of UT Austin will speak with both the student and employer supervisor.
- Whenever possible, the parties will discuss and agree on remediation of the situation and a period of probation and/or reporting. A two-week period is suggested.
- Following this, if the situation cannot be improved or resolved, the employer should notify UT Austin of its desire to end the internship. The employer will notify the student of early termination of the internship. UT Austin will notify the student of an appropriate reduction in the scholarship payment.
UT Austin understands the need of an employer to terminate an internship immediately if criminal activity has occurred.
It is hoped that clear communication concerning employer expectations before and throughout the internship will obviate the need for any intervention or termination. The following bullets cover issues that are important to discuss:
- Let your student know how their 40 hours should be scheduled. A default schedule would be 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, with an hour off for lunch. If occasional evening or weekend hours are required, you should let the student know before the start of the internship. Our assumption is that most work will be during business hours.
- Time off: Students are not expected to take vacation time during the 9-week internship. Exceptions can be granted if both you and the UT program director (Dr. Markman) approve. Regarding sick-leave, we suggest that you observe the same policies that you use for regular employees of your organization. Please communicate to the intern your sick-leave policies (e.g., inform supervisor as soon as possible; when a doctor’s note is required; etc.).
- Tasks must be related to the business of your organization, not to personal needs (e.g., running personal errands) of any of your employees. Please communicate initially and often with interns concerning your expectations for work, deliverables, and task deadlines.
- Clearly state who the intern’s supervisor will be and to whom the intern should express questions and concerns.
- Inform the intern of where she/he should perform duties. Interns should be given a dedicated place to sit to work.
- Please be specific in letting your intern know the appropriate attire for your organization.