Can you afford these interns?

College students of America, rejoice. The hard-fought road to being accepted into increasingly competitive schools, against a pool of increasingly qualified applicants, for a shot at that ideal job opportunity is about to pay off. Big time.

This spring, Glassdoor released a report detailing the 25 highest paying internships in America. And no. 1 should come as no surprise, the super-giant of the social media realm: Facebook.

According to the report, a Facebook intern will earn a median monthly pay of $8,000. Yes, we said monthly.

As you wipe off the coffee you just involuntarily spit at the screen, brace yourself to consider that this brings the median annual salary for an intern at Facebook to $96,000.

Glassdoor’s report goes on to detail the financial incentives of interning for some of the country’s biggest companies; $7,100 a month at Microsoft, $6,400 at Amazon, etc. Jaw, meet Floor.

What’s an intern worth?

I think it’s great to have these opportunities. I’m very excited for the lucky students who get to benefit from that experience,” Danielle Gruppo, Founder and CEO of InternAlliance, says, unfazed by the numbers.

Gruppo, a 25-year veteran of the recruiting and human resources industry, specializes in connecting students to the right professional experiences and funneling the most highly qualified candidates to job and internship openings. Recently, she’s been watching internships in coding and other specialized fields pay more and more for skilled students.

Science, engineering, technology and math are among the most competitive fields right now,” she says, which is why she’s not surprised those industries are among the top-ranking companies on Glassdoor’s list, shelling out big bucks for the young minds who can put them ahead.

What does it mean for small businesses?

If you’re currently feeling sick to your stomach about your ability to attract similar talent, or your own paycheck, Gruppo can put you at ease. Facebook’s flashy incentive package is not likely to divert promising students from gaining valuable experience at your company.

Unless they’re in close geographical proximity to these major tech companies in Silicon Valley, most businesses aren’t going to feel the effects of those high-paying internships.

What does proximity have to do with it? Gruppo says most students want to live at home during a summer internship to save their money, which means they’re looking for opportunities close to their families and schools.

So, yes, your business can still compete for young talent. Yes, the unpaid internship still matters. And, no, you don’t have to offer free gourmet breakfast (like Google) to get young adults to apply.

The internship gives you access to the leadership,” Gruppo says of the biggest reason why she encourages students to seek professional opportunities.

Millennials text more than they talk. Make eye contact, smile and say hello… you learn all that from an internship. I always tell students if you find one commonality with someone in the company, you can open doors tremendously.”

The value your company adds to a prospective intern is not measured in paychecks or latte machines. It’s directly proportionate to the quality of experience, mentorship and trust you can provide.

In short, she offers this advice to students in search of the next opportunity: “If you’re getting coffee for anyone other than yourself, you’re not in an internship.”

How to get the right candidates

While Gruppo is encouraged by the opportunity that abounds, both for skilled students and growing companies, she is acutely aware of the road blocks that stand between many candidates and companies.

They were the same barriers for me,” she says. “A few years ago, I was downsized from a Fortune 500 company.

A trend was sweeping the country when the economy weakened; businesses were forced to make cuts and often that meant cutting human resources professionals. Gruppo realized, in the long run, that losing the manpower to recruit the right people would only make growing new business harder on employers.

I wanted to focus on this and build a platform that solves all of these problems.

Gruppo created InternAlliance, with its patented algorithm, to severely cut down on the time it takes to seek out and sort through what could be thousands of resumes. Her exchange matches employers only with students who are at least 100% qualified. Likewise, a student with a profile on InternAlliance only receives the job opportunities for which they meet all requirements.

A student simply has to create a profile, then leave it. The system brings the opportunities to you. Then, Gruppo advises it is critical for students to carefully consider which opportunity will provide the culture that best suits them.

The culture piece is so big. You can’t write an algorithm for that,” she says.

Again, this is where business owners can set the value of an internship experience inside their doors. Attract them with your culture, your unique opportunity to develop their skills, and your excitement to share your knowledge.

The money will follow,” Gruppo knows.

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