Benefitting From Internships

Who doesn’t like win-win situations?  How about win-win-win?

Some years ago, my company hired the daughter of a friend from across the lake. She was required in her college curriculum to intern with some company for a summer in her specialty, marketing. That was one of the best hires that we ever made. She was willing to work for no pay because the internship experience was required for her graduation, but we could not do that in all fairness to her and did pay a modest amount. She brought new, creative ideas that were successful and taught us as we taught her. From that time on, we hired one or two interns every summer.

An internship can be defined as a method of on-the-job training for white-collar and professional careers, similar to apprenticeships for trade and vocational jobs. These positions may be paid or unpaid and are usually temporary. Interns can be found in colleges, local high schools, and the post-graduate staff. Lance Bagstad, Superintendant of Park Rapids Public Schools, shared that recent legislation, requiring schools and businesses to work together in providing students with college and career readiness skills, is opening the doors for collaboration. Tried and proven school-to-work opportunities still flourish but can be enhanced through partnerships and likeminded goals. It might take a little digging to find intern positions but once the students unlock the process, they will have contacts and understanding that can be used year after year.

Win #1 is for the hiring organization. High on the list for most organizations is how to improve marketing and bring in more revenue. The marketing world is changing as it transforms into the electronic world. Who understands computers and application programs that take advantage of speed and amplification of communications like young people? Students interested in careers in marketing, technology, or preferably both, are ideal intern candidates, but other fields are also beneficial to many businesses. Students can bring current academic views and employees can learn from them. Most interns are eager to learn, display initiative, are intelligent, energetic, and extremely grateful for opportunities to grow.

Win #2 is for the interns. Learning and living real world character values of responsibility, accountability, and commitment resonates in an internship for young people. They gain knowledge and practical application of that knowledge which will help them in their remaining classes at school, make a little money, and gain satisfaction from being productive. Students can use an internship to determine if they have an interest in a particular career, create a network of contacts, or gain school credits. Not to overlook is the benefit in applying for career opportunities after graduation. The experience, display of initiative and other ideal traits will be duly noted by interviewing parties.

Win #3 is for the local community. Internships create jobs! Students share experiences with other students and school staff, which add to their knowledge. They create interest and excitement for career employment among other students. Perhaps most important to the community is creating interest among the students in working for local companies and keeping this promising talent in the local area.

Rarely do we have opportunities that cost little in time and money that offer these benefits to our organization, to the local youth, and to our community. Our local school is very open to partnering with businesses to provide the win-win-win for all. Try it and see for yourself.