Companies Turning Interns Into New Hires

By Staff
July 10, 2009

In today's troubled economy, the right internships can offer routes to paid employment. College graduates and other entry-level job seekers may find encouragement in a new report from, that lists just over 200 U.S. companies with a strong record of turning interns into hires.

The web site's ranking of "Top Intern Employers" ranges from Deerfield, IL pharmacy chain Walgreens, number one in the lineup with 5,600 projected intern hires in 2009--to a three-way tie for last place with five hires each, consisting of the American Yacht Institute, the American Heart Association, and the New York Department of Environmental Conservation.

Interns are still in demand, even amid the recession, as companies seek to identify future employees. And the nation's leading intern company looks for interns who strive to learn as they work. "What we're trying to do is bring people into the organization who hopefully can be leaders," said Dawn DiLullo, Walgreen's director of recruitment, in an interview with Forbes. "We have structured programs that they go through, but we want them to be constantly asking questions and wanting to know more, too."

Leading employers of former interns represent a wide array of economic sectors. These include aerospace (Lockheed Martin), financial services (Deloitte & Touche USA LLP and PricewaterhouseCoopers), retail chains (Kohl's Department Stores and Target Corporation), and service companies (Enterprise Rent-A-Car).

Simply being an intern does not guarantee a good job down the road, according to the new list. The 213 employers surveyed also give varying weight to such factors as college attended, communication skills, computer savvy, and personal appearance as they vet their interns for potential job slots.

Meanwhile, the Career Exposure Network documents the continuing value of internships in the corporate world. The network, which aids Fortune 1000 companies find talented women, minorities, and MBA graduates to staff their ranks, sees internships as a valuable portal for job seekers.

Internships benefit both sides of the business equation, stressed JillXan Donnelly, president of, in an interview with "Employers have the opportunity to evaluate potential new hires and determine if the candidate is a good fit for the organization," Donnelly said. "At the same time, interns can use the experience to make great contacts, challenge their thinking outside of the classroom and evaluate a company."

Internships cannot meet the needs of all seeking to launch their careers. Still, the top ten of the employers cited by aim to hire upwards of 25,000 of their interns this year.

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