Yelp has canceled its summer internship due to the safety threat from the COVID-19 outbreak.
While health is the priority across the world right now, the move is another blow to the potential prospects of a graduating class entering what looks to be a prolonged economic downturn.
In a statement to TechCrunch, a Yelp spokesperson said:
Yelp is actively monitoring the rapidly evolving situation surrounding the spread of COVID-19. Since the health and safety of our community is a top priority, we are taking a number of precautionary measures. We have encouraged, and in some cases mandated, employees in all of our offices to work from home, cancelled or postponed events, and prohibited international business travel and limited domestic travel to business critical needs. Due to our office closures and the challenges of onboarding interns while our entire workforce is remote, we have put our summer internship program on hold.
Earlier this month, schools across the country shut down and forced students to evacuate and attend classes remotely. Shutdowns have led to a migration home, alternative housing and scrappiness among educators to help students remain on track with curriculum.
Internships are a coveted resume booster and provide experience that students can use for networking and a potential job after graduation. It's also a way that some companies increase their pipeline into more diverse communities. If tech companies cancel internships broadly, it could have a significant effect on hiring down the road.
Many other startups and larger tech companies have not yet publicly announced any decisions on the future of their internship programs. Others have told students that they are trying out a remote option or are waiting to make a call on whether to cancel or continue. That decision -- and broader hiring freezes -- will depend on the status of the government's efforts to stop the COVID-19 outbreak over the coming months.
Uber, for example, said it will continue its program for the more than 400 interns set to join the ride-hailing company's team. It is also continuing the programs around the world for its current intern group, which is 50 people strong. The company has switched to virtual onboarding and virtual intern events. It also is working on growing its manager and mentor trainings to "include new practices for managing during these challenging times."
Salesforce said no changes have been made yet to its internship program. I reached out to Google, Facebook, and Lyft to ask them whether they have made any changes to their internship programs as well. I will update this post if I hear back.
If you are an incoming summer intern at a tech company and your internship has been canceled, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org