Thinking beyond simply the value internships provide to interns, it’s also useful to consider how an internship program can benefit an employer. Developing a desirable program is becoming an increasingly important part of early-career recruiting for employers of all sizes and across all industries. In the data we’ve collected from nearly 1,000 employers about their internship programs, a few key benefits stick out:

  • Internships are the primary gateway to building a pipeline of qualified and diverse early-career candidates to fill early talent roles.
  • Internship programs greatly contribute to company culture – current employees unite around supporting interns and organizations aim to bolster their culture through internship-related activities.
  • Top programs actively gather feedback from interns throughout their internships to improve their program moving forward and remain attractive employers for Gen Z talent.
  • Internships have evolved to be more flexible in how they’re structured, allowing employers to drive diversity, personalize the intern experience, and spend meaningful time with each intern to help them develop skills that will benefit the organization into the future.

In order to shine a national spotlight on interns and internship programs, National Intern Day was founded by WayUp 2017, and we’re thrilled to continue the celebration as Yello since WayUp and Yello merged in 2021. Last year, we highlighted the benefits of paying your interns and the effect paid internships have on closing the diversity gap. We hope National Intern Day serves as a reminder to employers to recognize how investing in a diverse internship program can be an investment in their own future.

2023 marks exciting growth for the National Intern Day program, and this year we’re excited to announce the Top 100 Internships List on National Intern Day – instead of a few weeks after. In addition to selecting the Top 100 Internship Programs of 2023, we’re thrilled to give out several new awards, including the Innovation Award, Small But Mighty Award, Intern Growth Award, and DEI Champion Award. 

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We received an overwhelming number of nominations this year and the competition to crack the Top 100 List was more challenging than ever before. The introduction of these new awards gives us the opportunity to highlight programs that excelled in certain areas that made their programs stand out.

And now, without further delay, let’s reveal this year’s top internship program: Northrop Grumman

Northrop Grumman’s internship program included interns from over 425 universities across the country at 80 different locations. Their program aims to develop a diverse talent pipeline for full-time opportunities by fostering skill development and encouraging intern contributions. Interns are integrated into meaningful projects that focus on advancing technology, protecting the nation, and exploring groundbreaking research areas. With Northrop Grumman’s immense scale and scope, their interns have boundless opportunities to shape their career journeys, feed their curiosity, and fuel their passion in a culture of belonging that embraces diverse experiences and perspectives.

Their neurodiverse internship program matches interns with employee mentors to provide 1:1 support and the program’s application process is tailored to set neurodiverse candidates up for success. Part of this program is geared towards training managers to better equip neurodivergent employees for success in the workforce by giving them the resources to thrive in an environment where they are empowered to contribute their best work.

We’re also excited to announce this year’s other winners:

World Wide Technology – DEI Champion Award Winner

WWT is committed to increasing diversity within their internship program, and has seen substantial growth over the last year. Their team focuses on building strong partnerships with universities, especially historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs), to attract the most talented individuals from diverse educational backgrounds.

They introduce interns to Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) through an annual fair, encouraging them to be actively involved in dedicated diversity and inclusion discussions. WWT’s DEI workshop creates a safe space for interns to share experiences, fostering openness and support. WWT emphasizes the value of individual contributions and empower interns to be their authentic selves at work, cultivating a deep sense of belonging and unity among interns.

Radio Flyer – Small But Mighty Award Winner

Radio Flyer’s internship program is built on three pillars: Work, Grow, & Play! Their program provides a well-rounded, immersive experience where interns work on meaningful projects, receive ongoing feedback, and engage in professional development through Wagon U. 

Radio Flyer’s success is evident in the fact that almost 30% of their employees began as interns. Their program serves as a pipeline for early talent, providing students with the skills and confidence to pursue their passions and achieve their career goals. Their program also highlights the company’s commitment to DEI, intern engagement, and provides a positive experience for all interns, including opportunities to test new Radio Flyer products like eBikes and GoKarts.

The Trade Desk – Intern Growth Award Winner

The Trade Desk takes a holistic approach to the growth and development of their interns to ensure that they not only gain invaluable hands-on experience, but also deepen their understanding of the intricacies of the advertising space. Each intern works with a dedicated mentor and manager to tailor projects to their individual interests and skills while receiving ongoing support and feedback. Comprehensive evaluations help each intern track their progress and identify areas for improvement.

Their program also offers various educational opportunities, like Tech Talks led by subject matter experts and a Leadership Speaker Series, to deepen each intern’s understanding of the AdTech space. The Trade Desk also hosts social events and community service opportunities to encourage networking, relationship-building, and social responsibility. 

Mattel – Innovation Award Winner

Mattel is highly regarded for its commitment to employee well-being and has been recognized through multiple prestigious awards. Interns have access to multiple benefits, including financial wellness programs and global opportunities to work with different offices and partners. Mattel recognizes and offers growth opportunities to interns based on performance, ensuring their program is a pathway to full-time roles.

Mattel treats interns as full time employees, encouraging them to participate in company events and meetings. Since Mattel is a toy company after all, interns get to play! From scavenger hunts to life-size Dreamhouses and car tracks, their interns have a blast exploring and learning the world of toys.

Nid Top100 List

As we celebrate National Intern Day and acknowledge the achievements of Northrop Grumman and other exceptional programs, let us continue to champion diversity, foster growth, and cultivate an environment where the next generation of professionals can thrive and create a brighter future for us all. Together, we propel the wheels of progress forward, shaping the landscape of opportunities for tomorrow’s leaders.