It seems that many of the people that we have been talking to across the company have indicated that there is a renewed interest in internships and internship programs. I believe that this is a great way to help students to understand employment before graduation, but it may be more than that.
Over the course of years we have been talking a lot about creating a pipeline for individuals to fill positions in information technology careers. This may be the next big recruitment strategy for every company’s next workforce. Most companies use the program now as a way to test out individuals to see if they have what it takes to fit into the culture and be a productive part of their team. Once a person is in your company and has the promise of established employment, it is more than likely that the individual will stay even after the education process ends. It’s a test run, if you will.
The student gets a test run as well. They get the opportunity to decide if they are getting the right fit for their career aspirations as well. The days of paying your dues, getting coffee and copies by the interns are long over. More is expected of the company by the student, who wants to contribute now. Those dreams of being a part of a company that values them as a productive part of the mission can either be solidified or demolished. They may find out they are prepared for the next step or need to go back to school for some more education.
The problem often occurs that most internship programs may not have the others agenda in mind and fail to be beneficial in any way to both parties. Without the right structure, this can be a quagmire from the very start. That is why the renewed interest also needs to meet with a new internship structure. Companies need to work the student’s needs into their programs and students need to meet the company’s expectations before they start this important endeavor.
Several of our local advisory board members have requested this as a topic of conversation and professional development series. They currently are struggling to determine how to approach this in the most effective way. Later this month, we will be kicking off the first of these conversations in Chattanooga with our speaker series. We have educational institutions, business with internships programming, and community leaders involved in the conversation and we are looking forward to new information. As things progress, we will work to be on top of this topic and make sure each of our satellites are privy to the best information from all our locations.