Paid internships are paying off for this year's college graduates with more than half converting their experience into job offers.
In all, 60 percent of college grads who earned paychecks for their internships received at least one job offer, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers' 2012 Student Survey.
The numbers hold steady from last year's survey, but association officials said the results show how valuable paid experience is for graduates entering the workforce.
Nearly four in 10 who held unpaid internships received job offers, according to the survey, while 36 percent of grads without internships received offers of employment.
"Students with a paid internship have a decided advantage in the job market over those who did an unpaid internship or didn't do an internship at all," said executive director Marilyn Mackes, in a statement announcing the survey's findings.
Mackes said paid interns spend much of their time engaged in professional tasks such as analysis and project management.
"Employers prize that kind of hands-on experience," Mackes said.
Marcie Kirk Holland, a project manager at the University of California, Davis, Internship & Career Center, said the graduates' success detailed in the student survey mirrors that of UC Davis grads.
"We're absolutely consistent with that. That's why we're such proponents of internships," Holland said.
She said graduates participating in internships "have a far greater chance of landing a career position."
Paid or unpaid, internships are an important step toward a graduate's career goals, Holland said.
"An internship helps assure an employer that you know how to communicate in a professional work environment," Holland said.
It can also focus the graduate's career choice.
"A lot of people's concept of what a career is is based on what they've seen on TV or in a movie," Holland said. But after interning, grads are "clear about what it is they want," she said.
That impresses employers and increases interns' odds when it's time to hire, Holland said.
PUC hosts career fair
The California Public Utilities Commission is hosting a career fair in Berkeley targeted at filling positions in Sacramento, Oakland and San Francisco.
The free "Removing Barriers to Success" Career Fair is 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 21 at the Ed Roberts Campus, 3075 Adeline St., Berkeley.
"We're trying to reach out to veterans and people with disabilities," said Michaela Turner-Stroud, an employment manager at the CPUC.
Organizers are accepting examination applications for a number of positions including administrative assistants, accountants, engineers and financial examiners.
Job seekers will receive an overview on how to find and apply for state employment and can meet with a variety of vendors at the event.
Employment seminars will be held through the day.
Those requiring disability-related accommodations can call the CPUC's Marta Talavera-Juul at (415) 703-2348 or email at email@example.com. Requests must be received by 5 p.m. Aug. 14.
For information, call the CPUC's recruiting line toll free at (866) 652-3977 or visit www.cpuc.ca.gov/PUC/jobs.
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