It’s been just over two years since the Serving Communities Internship Program (SCiP) was launched and although there is still one more year left iun the 3-year pilot it seems like a good time to take stock of the journey so far. SCiP was collaboratively developed by stdent organizations (ASEC, CAUS, and AGC), the Government of Alberta, and Volunteer Alberta to ensure mutual benefit for both nonprofit organizations and students. Volunteer Alberta manages the day-to-day programming, promotions, and operations of the program on behalf of the partners.
There are three broad program objectives for SCiP:
- Create meaningful opportunities for students to develop skills and deepen applied learning opportunities to support personal and career goals
- Foster an appreciation for community engagement while supporting the efforts of nonprofit organizations to achieve their mission and strengthen local communities
- Increase student awareness of the important contributions of the nonprofit sector to their communities and the possibilities of working in this sector.
These objectives guide how we measure and evaluate the program and based on the data collected so far we are starting to get a sense of the impact of SCiP, here are some highlights:
- 375 internships were completed in year one of SCiP and 741 were completed in year 2
- By the end of year two of SCiP 5424 students have registered and 765 organizations have registered
- 103 or 14% of year 2 completed internships were filled by repeat students who also completed internships in year 1 of SCiP
- 75% of interns are female students, and most interns are 20 – 25 years of age
- 85% of organizations indicate that SCiP has a positive impact on their knowledge/ability to strategically engage post-secondary students
- 94% of organizations indicate that SCiP has had a positive impact on their ability to meet mission
- 93% of interns indicated they would do another SCiP internship
- 63% of interns indicated that SCiP increased their awareness of the nonprofit sector as a place of employment
- 99% of interns reported that SCiP has helped them gain practical skills and knowledge that will have value in their future employment
- 85% of interns responded that SCiP has increased their awareness of the value of the nonprofit sector to society/community
- Before their internship 21% of interns were looking at the sector as a possible place of employment and after their internship 85% of interns were looking at the NPVS as a possible place of employment.
- Before an internship 5% of interns stated that the nonprofit sector was their preferred sector of employment compared to 14% of interns after completing an internship.
- 89% of student indicated that the $1000 bursary motivated them to apply for SCiP.
The statistics demonstrate that organizations and students are experiencing significant benefits from participating in SCiP. The program is developing a cohort of post-secondary students who recognize that the nonprofit sector has many professional opportunities and employment potential. Likewise, organizations are gaining key insights into how to mentor and engage students and new graduates meaningfully in ways they might not have considered before. Of course there have been bumps along the way and there is still a lot of work to be done to really capture the full impact of the 3-year pilot, but for now we can take comfort that positive change is being realized.
For the last word here some examples of the positive feedback SCiP has received:
“My internship at Hope Mission was incredible. It was a fun and humbling experience. I learned many new skills helping in the areas of Special Events and Fundraising, and Volunteer Services. I helped with grant writing; I got to help with planning, organizing and coordinating special events. The internship provided housing at the shelter and living there really completed the experience. I learned way more than I expected. I hope to take all I’ve learned with me in my education, my career and my life in general.”
– Anonymous student Intern, year 2
“We have recruited 12 SCIP interns in the past year and all of our interns have been a great help to the organization. SCIP helps our organization fulfil the need of students to gain meaningful experience in their said field of academic majors. It also benefits the organization to achieve its goals and outcomes because of the relentless efforts done on part of these students in fulfilling their assigned tasks.”
– Anonymous SCiP Organization, year 2
*Report statistics were collected in 2 surveys during year 2 of SCiP from students and organizations. 214 organizations received the survey with a response rate of 80%, 741 students received the survey with a response rate of 54%
Annand Ollivierre, Program Manager