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Intern pool older, more experienced

ATLANTA, Aug. 16 (UPI) -- A tough economy means a hiring pool that is older and more experienced for U.S. companies offering internships, career advisers say.

A survey by job search and research Web site CareerBuilder.com indicated 23 percent of employers seeing more experienced workers -- 10-plus years' experience and at least 50 years old -- applying for internships.

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More than a quarter of employers told CareerBuilder they plan to hire interns -- regardless of age -- during the remainder of 2010 to help support workloads. Fourteen percent said they expect to hire paid interns while 7 percent said their interns would work gratis. Five percent said they would hire a mix of paid and unpaid interns.

While internships traditionally have been a way for college students to gain experience before entering the workforce, the CareerBuilder.com survey indicated mature workers now view internships as a way to re-enter the workforce, pollsters said.

"The last 18 months have reshaped internships as more than an experience-builder for college students. Now, they're also a way for experienced workers to explore new opportunities," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder.com. "Internships can act as an extended, full-time job interview and potentially lead to more opportunities for college students and for more seasoned employees."

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In fact, Haefner said, 52 percent of companies surveyed said they likely would hire interns as full-time, permanent employees.

The CareerBuilder survey was conducted among more than 2,500 employers May 18-June 3.

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