March 10, 2011; Source: Vault | Which nonprofits offer the best internships? A job search and career development organization called Vault ("owned by Veronis Suhler Stevenson, a $5 billion private-equity firm") just published its 2011 listing of the top internship programs based on a review of 821 for-profit, governmental, and nonprofit employers. The top 10 internship programs overall were:

  1. Capital Fellows Programs
  2. Deloitte LLP
  3. Garmin International
  4. Google, Inc.
  5. J.P. Morgan's Investment Bank
  6. NASA
  7. Nickelodeon Animation Studios
  8. Northwestern Mutual Financial Network
  9. Smithsonian Institution
  10. The Boston Consulting Group

Note that some nonprofits made it into the list of the best all-around internships. The top 10 nonprofit internships according to Vault were:

  1. Advocates for Children of New York
  2. Camphill Soltane
  3. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  4. Farm Sanctuary
  5. Food for the Hungry
  6. Hudson Institute
  7. Mother Jones
  8. National Women's Health Network
  9. Sierra Club
  10. Teen Voices

And in the other lists, the Brooklyn Museum, Teen Voices, the Smithsonian, and the Steppenwolf Theatre Company were in the "top 10 creative/liberal arts" internships and several nonprofits made it onto the list of the "top 10 most unusual experiences," including the Wolf Trap Foundation, the Florida Grand Opera, the Child's Play Touring Theatre, and the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences.

While this isn't a rigorous, scientific study, Vault lists – and the background information available by clicking on the name of each internship program sponsor – show that some nonprofits (and for-profits) are devoting some thought and resources to the design and implementation of quality internship programs. Unlike programs for young people where they all get to stand around for photo-ops wearing the program sponsors' t-shirts and jackets, the internships profiled by Vault look substantive and valuable to both the organizational sponsor and the intern.—Rick Cohen