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The Student

The Student: Recession Ate My Internship

Kevin Sullivan, a sophomore journalism major at Northwestern University near Chicago didn't get an internship in his chosen field this year. The recession caused internships dry up at almost the same rate as full-time, paid jobs.

He's working, though, and is upbeat about the practical experience he's gaining with the city maintenance department in his hometown — he knows which shovel to use in which circumstance, he jokes.

According to a 2009 survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, internships and co-op programs declined at approximately the same level as full-time job openings (21 percent).

The survey also showed that just 19.7 percent of 2009 graduates who applied for a job actually have one. In comparison, 51 percent of those graduating in 2007 and 26 percent of those in 2008 who had applied for a job had one by the time of graduation.

Kevin, meanwhile, remains undaunted by the impact the recession had on his efforts to find an internship in his field. The second of four children — and the first not to follow in his father's footsteps as an accountant — is hopeful his journalism residency in the spring will bring the real-world experience he seeks.

Meanwhile, he's thankful to be making a few thousand dollars to get him through the next year of school.