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by Vault Education Editors | September 13, 2010

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We all heard the rumors but I, for one, didn't think they were true: "mature workers" (i.e., older workers) are pursuing not just entry-level positions, but internships as well. According to Business Journal Daily, "7% of employers reported mature workers have applied for internships at their organizations, and 4% have hired them. Some 55% would be willing to consider mature workers for internships."

Older intern working at his new full-time jobIn retrospect, the trend does make sense and I should have gotten on the bandwagon sooner. Older workers have been laid off much more readily than their younger counterparts and many haven't been snapped up again, at least not in positions commensurate to their level of experience. So, why not take an entry-level job? Why not intern? Especially for mature workers who'd been planning on a career change anyway, now probably seems like as good a time as any to do the necessary grunt work, pay the necessary dues and make contacts in a new industry.

To that effect, Forbes recently profiled Julie Allstrom, a 60-year-old career executive assistant who was laid off, went back to school and is now interning (unpaid) at a national nonprofit advocacy organization in D.C. According to Allstrom, "I needed current experience on my resume, and I needed to build a network of new contacts. This internship has met those objectives."

It's a testament to what makes an internship worthwhile. A good internship means real, hands-on experience--a chance to learn about the industry and build valuable contacts. Check out the Vault Internship Database to see which programs will held you break out of the jobless funk and into a new career path.

--Written by Madison Priest

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