7.5 Internships and Practicums

(fully countable core)

Legal References:

The Internships and Practicums section includes:

  • 7.5.1 What are internships and practicums?
  • 7.5.2 Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Requirements
  • 7.5.3 Industrial Insurance Coverage
  • 7.5.4 When can you add it to an IRP?
  • 7.5.5 eJAS Codes
  • 7.5.6 Internships and Practicums - Step-by-step guide

7.5.1 What are internships and practicums?

Internships and practicums are supervised practical training at a workplace that is required to complete an educational program. Internships and practicums are unpaid work experiences.

An example of in internship is the student teaching requirement that a student must conduct in order to obtain a teaching certificate. Another example is the practical work experience a nursing student obtains as part of the requirement to complete the course of training. WorkFirst categorizes unpaid internships and practicums as work experience (WEX).

There are some types of internships and practicums that can be used to meet an individual's work requirement for up to 12 months. To qualify, the internship or practicum must be required to complete a course of vocational training that will result in a license or certificate in a high-demand field or determined to enhance the parent's training and future employability.

7.5.2 Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Requirements

According to state and federal law, parents cannot be required to engage in unpaid work for more hours than their monthly grant amount plus their monthly food stamp amount divided by the federal, state, or local minimum wage, whichever is higher. College WorkFirst personnel will coordinate with the WFPS/WFSSS to ensure that the number of hours a parent is scheduled to participate in the WEX meets FLSA requirements.  For a detail summary on FLSA, see Chapter How to Deem. 

For nonexempt two-parent families, the maximum number of work experience hours can be split between the two parents.

7.5.3 Industrial Insurance Coverage

Internships and practicums are unpaid work experiences. State and federal law require a parent in work experience be covered by state industrial insurance or a comparable industrial insurance. This coverage is sometimes referred to as workman's compensation or L& I.

The colleges will pay L& I coverage for unpaid work experiences, such as Internships and Practicums, which are part of the parent's education and training plan.

7.5.4 When can you add it to the IRP?

The WorkFirst Program Specialist (WFPS) adds an unpaid internship or practicum to the person's IRP as work experience if it is required to complete a training program that will result in a license or certificate or determined to enhance the parent's training and future employability.

Other Core and Non-core Activities, such as Vocational Education or Skills Enhancement Training, may be stacked with Internships/practicums as needed to reach full-time participation, generally 32-40 hours per week. See WFHB 1.2.3 for additional information about adding an additional three hours (preferably core activity hours) in the parent’s IRP when possible.  Don’t exceed the FLSA maximum hours for work experience.  You can substitute non-core hours for core hours as needed to stay within the FLSA maximum. 

Depending on the design of the training program, an unpaid internship or practicum may be attached to either the end of the training period or utilized at strategic points during the training.

7.5.5 eJAS codes

  • WE (Work Experience, to track the unpaid internship or practicum)

7.5.6 Internships and Practicums - Step-by-step guide

When parents need an unpaid internship/practicum to complete or enhance their training:

  1. The WorkFirst college coordinator:
    • Works with the parent to create a training plan.
    • Notifies the WFPS/WFSSS of the unpaid internship/practicum by e-message.
  2. The WFPS/WFSSS updates the Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP).
  3. The Internship/Practicum worksite supervisor:
    • Provides daily supervision,
    • Documents participation every two weeks, and
    • Provides this information to the college WorkFirst Coordinator.
  4. The college WorkFirst Coordinator:
    • Reports participation monthly using eJAS, and
    • Immediately notify the WFPS/WFSSS if the parent fails to participate as required.


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