Study of Intern and Trainee Exchange Program Indicates Significant Benefits for Participants and U.S. Economy

Rockville, MDEurekaFacts, an independent market research and analysis firm, conducted a comprehensive study of the Intern and Trainee programs, two visa categories within the State Department’s Exchange Visitor Program (EVP). The Intern and Trainee programs allow international candidates to temporarily live in the United States, participate in educational or occupational training with host organizations, and experience American culture.

The Alliance for International Exchange, an association of nearly 90 international exchange-implementing organizations, commissioned EurekaFacts to conduct a thorough review of the Intern and Trainee programs. The assessment included a comprehensive review of the program, a survey of over 3,000 program alumni, and interviews and a survey of over 1,300 host organizations. 

Key findings show that the program conveys significant benefits to the U.S. in terms of public diplomacy:

  • Nearly three quarters (73.1%) of participants state they developed a much more positive or more positive opinion about the U.S. in general after their program experience.
  • Three quarters (75.6%) participants developed a much more positive or more positive opinion of the American people.
  • Nearly all (95.7%) of participants state that their experience in the U.S. was very good or good.
  • Nearly all (95%) participants feel that the program provided them with practical skills and expertise.

Intern and trainee participants leave the program with a greater regard for the U.S., the American people, and the American way of doing business.

Additionally, key findings show that the program conveyed significant benefits to U.S. host organizations:

  • The majority (84.5%) of host organizations consider the program important to their business.
  • Three quarters (75.3%) of host organizations reveal that exchange visitor participants broaden perspectives of current staff through exposure to different cultures.
  • The majority (71%) of host organizations indicate that the program helps staff develop intercultural communication skills.
  • If the Intern/Trainee program was no longer available, over half (56.5%) of respondents state that this would have a moderate or major negative impact on their organization.

The Intern and Trainee program allows host organizations to accomplish specific business tasks or projects, support diversity and improve intercultural skills, and gain exposure to new and innovative international perspectives.

The analysis suggests that Intern and Trainee participants supplement the existing American workforce rather than compete with American workers for existing jobs. In 2017, participants contributed more than $600 million to the US economy.   

The study was led by EurekaFacts’ Chief Business Officer Paul Schroeder, MA, Malinda Rhone, PhD, and Chief Executive Officer Jorge Restrepo, MGA, following the international quality for market, public opinion and social research ISO 20252, to which EurekaFacts is certified. To access a copy of the full report, go to: www.EurekaFacts.com/Intern_Trainee.pdf