On September 22nd, I wrote a post on the program I wish to evaluate. It was fairly general and I received quite a few responses in our online educational community about it. The feedback was positive on the topic, and there were questions about co-op vs. internship as well as professional input on the effectiveness of internship programs.
Our professor asked the following questions to ensure we had a program to evaluate:
- Does your program consume resources to operate? ($, human resource, facility, specialized equipment)
- Does your program organize and deliver a course of activities for some targeted users?
- Does your program target some predefined population of users? (e.g, pupils enrolled in a school system, unemployed individuals between the age of 15-29, residents of a municipality)
- Does your program set out to achieve some predetermined social outcomes? (e.g., changes in knowledge/skills/behaviour/attitude; increase in civic and social engagement, changes in quality of life/sense of wellbeing/active lifestyle behaviour, etc.)
The program I am reviewing answers “yes” to all of these questions. It requires human resources, and training; is organized with courses for the students heading into placement, and it has the outcome of preparing the student for the workplace. The placement is advertised as the “opportunity to graduate into a job.”
Today, I wish to dive into the program a bit more, as I know there are many internships and co-ops of varied lengths, unpaid vs paid, and for academic credit or not. I intend to keep the name of the program anonymous, and will just be exploring the program expectations and outcomes.
The educational program defines the internship as a four-month placement. As part of the academic curriculum, these are unpaid placements. I am curious how many of these placements, directly and indirectly, lead to jobs.
To echo the statements of my fellow classmates, I am interested to see the project unfold. I’m sure it will be an excellent learning experience as my first dive into program evaluation.