Local companies offer student internships at SMC

Alex Rios, a communications major, was among the crowd of Santa Monica College students who reported to the main campus quad for the "Internship Fair" this past Tuesday, May 3, to speak to visiting companies about internship opportunities. Rios used to play baseball for Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo, and came to Los Angeles to find opportunities to work in business and management for either sports or music, he said. "I brought resumes, I researched a lot of the companies, I circled all the companies that I wanted to go to today," Rios said. He said he plans on emailing and calling the companies he liked to confirm his interest in working with them.

The fair hosted a diversity of companies in areas like accounting and finance, administration and management, arts and graphics, computer logistics, education and counseling, entertainment, law enforcement, fashion, and other professional fields.

The time commitment expected from interns seemed to vary by company; some require a minimum of 18 to 20 hours a week, while others want full time interns; there are also companies that provided a certain level of flexibility with students' schedules.

Many company representatives claimed to offer course credits, but would withhold payment; however, some did claim to offer commission and stock options.

KCRW 89.9 FM, the Santa Monica College public radio station that broadcasts to the greater Los Angeles area and Southern California, was a first-time participant at the "Internship Fair" this year.

Connie Alvarez, KCRW's Director of Volunteer Services, said they have always taken SMC students as volunteers, but now they are offering official internships for course credit, as well as a stipend of approximately $650 per semester for each student, donated by Daniel Greenberg, Chairman and CEO of Electro Rent Corporation, and his wife Susan Steinhauser, exclusively to SMC students and paid following completion of the internship.

"Being added to this fair, I think it's a great idea. We get to see who else is out there, we get to meet all these smart, wonderful students, and see what they're interested in, so it's great," Alvarez said. "Our table has been very well-visited."

David Kim, an SMC finance major, was disappointed not to see Robert K Futterman & Associates or Ameriprise Financial, two companies that were originally supposed to attend, since he is solely interested in real estate finance. "I'm not satisfied right now; no results yet," Kim said.

Judy White, SMC's Internship Coordinator and the producer of the event, encouraged Kim to come to the career center, and said they would be happy to assist him in contacting the companies. However Kim was not convinced. "It's a lot more personal when you can go up to someone," he said.

The event was funded 58 percent by SMC's Associated Students and 42 percentby the career center. The event has occured annually in the spring for the past eight years, and sporadically before that, White said. She said 92 companies signed up this year, and that the norm is that approximately 10 percent do not show up.

But White said the contact information for all of the companies is available at the career center. "You know, to find exactly what you want, you have to dig deeper; that's just what you have to do," she said.

Once students officially get an internship, they are to go to the career center, where they can fill out forms, and then attend a class on SMC's E-Companion while interning, White said. She said the service is only available for SMC students who have been enrolled in at least six units for a previous full semester.