FRI-Public Utilities Division (PUD) Internship Program Guidelines
To provide meaningful experiential learning opportunities to students at the University of Missouri who have a potential interest in public utility industries, the State agencies that regulate those industries, and the consumer advocacy organizations that inform the regulatory process.
Public utilities touch the lives of all persons, yet the regulatory system that oversees utility industries is largely unfamiliar, if not unknown, to most people. There are few opportunities available explicitly to connect college students with these industries and regulatory bodies. As a result, industry employers and State public service commissions and consumer advocacy agencies have difficulty recruiting new talent—especially individuals that have an understanding of those industries and their regulatory context. By facilitating internship opportunities between FRI Board Member organizations and students at the University of Missouri, the FRI-PUD Internship Program is intended to help bridge that gap.
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), an internship is defined as:
“A form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting. Internships give students the opportunity to gain valuable applied experience and make connections in professional fields they are considering for career paths; and give employers the opportunity to guide and evaluate talent.”
To ensure that an experience—whether it is a traditional internship, or one conducted remotely or virtually—is educational, and thus eligible to be considered a legitimate internship by the NACE definition, all the following criteria must be met:
- The experience must be an extension of the classroom: a learning experience that provides for applying the knowledge gained in the classroom. It must not be simply to advance the operations of the employer or be the work that a regular employee would routinely perform.
- The skills or knowledge learned must be transferable to other employment settings.
- The experience has a defined beginning and end, and a job description with desired qualifications.
- There are clearly defined learning objectives/goals related to the professional goals of the student’s academic coursework.
- There is supervision by a professional with expertise and educational and/or professional background in the field of the experience.
- There is routine feedback by the experienced supervisor.
- There are resources, equipment, and facilities provided by the host employer that support learning objectives/goals.
If a position does not meet the above criteria, we will be unable to post it. All positions must also comply with the University of Missouri’s Recruitment Policies.
Recruiting Criteria and Selection:
Sponsoring organizations should define the desirable and minimum-acceptable qualifications for the internship as may be appropriate to the nature of the tasks the student will be expected to complete. This may include academic major (e.g., agribusiness management, economics, finance, marketing, etc.), expected graduation date (or academic status, e.g., sophomore/junior year), degree level (e.g., Bachelor’s, Master’s), minimum GPA, and course background or technical skills (e.g., economics, statistics, computer software skills, etc.). You may find this template helpful when creating an internship position description.
The sponsor can post the position for free on the HireMizzouTigers website (https://hiremizzoutigers.com/post-a-job/). FRI staff will also promote opportunities to appropriate students and student-facing contacts. FRI staff may assist in initial screening of applicants if requested by Board members, but the sponsoring organization will be responsible for selecting and negotiating with their preferred candidate(s).
Summer internships typically run 8 to 10 weeks between mid-May and mid-August. Shorter or longer durations may be possible, subject to academic term dates and mutual interest. Summer internships are expected to be full-time (e.g., 35-40 hours per week). (Note: part-time, semester-based internships may be possible for locations in or near Columbia, MO, including Jefferson City.)
While internships meeting all the guidelines above do not necessarily require compensation, recruiting organizations will likely be unsuccessful in competing for students if a market-competitive wage/salary is not offered. For locations other than mid-Missouri (i.e., those requiring temporary relocation), recruiting organizations should ensure that compensation is sufficient at least to cover reasonable room and board expenses or to provide room and board alternatives for the duration of the internship.
Internship Course Credit:
Students who desire academic course credit for their internship experience will have additional academic work beyond the actual work experience to receive 3 credit hours toward their degree requirements. This decision has no direct bearing on the internship experience or sponsoring organization, except for reporting on the student’s work performance (see below).
Program and Performance Evaluation:
Both the internship supervisor and the student will be asked to complete an evaluation of the internship experience after completion. The supervisor will also provide an evaluation of the student’s work performance to the student’s academic internship advisor if the student is receiving academic course credit. During the internship experience, the supervisor retains the right to terminate the internship for just cause but must inform FRI and the academic internship advisor.