Publications

Policy Briefs

Supporting Black Interns through Vicarious Racial Trauma: Policy Recommendations for Employers and Postsecondary Institutions

Williams, K.M., Thompson, M., & Hora, M.T. (2020). Supporting Black Interns through Vicarious Racial Trauma: Policy Recommendations for Employers and Postsecondary Institutions. Policy Brief #1. Center for Research on College-Workforce Transitions. University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Abstract: In the wake of the 2020 protests demanding justice and equality for marginalized communities, Black undergraduates have continued to pursue and complete internships around the country. Recognizing the psychological tax that Black student interns must bear given the current political and racial climate, in addition to the unlikelihood of these protests being the last time students are forced to cope and heal while maintaining their academic and internship commitments, in the current brief we address this critical question: “What can host organizations do to support and protect Black student interns?” In this brief we specifically sought to (1) increase awareness of issues facing Black student interns, and (2) provide specific actions that employers and higher education professionals can take to support Black student interns. We review the prior literature on vicarious trauma and organizational practices that may best reduce the compound effects of vicarious racial trauma on Black student interns. Ultimately, with this brief we aim to stimulate further discussion and examination of racial disparities within internship programs and areas where internships may fall short in supporting the development of Black student interns.