Home Back Issues May 2007 Workforce training: Double value of internships

Workforce training: Double value of internships

| Print |  Email
Archives - May 2007
Tuesday, May 01, 2007

BizInterns.jpg

Summer is nearly here and with it the chance to try out fresh, young talent without too much risk: Hiring an intern is a way for companies to test-drive a potential employee while giving students valuable real-world experience.

“When done right, an internship is a win/win for everyone,” says Becky Einolf, manager of the business internship program at Portland State University’s School of Business Administration.

Michelle Houck, director of client services for Portland-based Cmedia, a direct-response advertising agency, says interns bring a little something extra to the office. She says the type of person who applies for an internship is looking to break out of the student mold and get their feet wet in the working world. Interns can bring energy to an office and the latest knowledge and techniques from their university education.

“Interns bring fresh talent, book smarts and a determination to apply that to the company,” says Mike Bowyer, an engineering manager at Intel who oversees the Multiple Engineering Cooperative Program (MECOP), one of the oldest and largest internship programs in the state with about 100 Northwest engineering firms participating annually.

What an intern can do in the workplace varies depending upon the size of the company, the type of work available for an inexperienced person and the amount of time employers are willing to invest in training. Having a concrete plan for hiring and managing interns makes all the difference in creating a positive experience for employers and interns.

Before advertising a position, take time to map out what an intern’s role will be in your company:

  • Decide what type of work is appropriate and how the intern will be trained and supervised.

  • Determine if the intern will be paid or not. If the position will be unpaid, check with local universities for guidelines on unpaid   internships with for-profit employers.

  • Define the intern’s work schedule and routine. Bowyer says to remember that it will take interns about four to six weeks to acclimate to your company culture and policies.


Whether interns work hand in hand with other staff members or focus on smaller projects, a few key things can make the experience beneficial. Houck cites mentoring and flexibility as important components of any internship program. Einolf agrees, explaining that ideally interns should report to one person for consistency and effectiveness. Clark says that while interns are eager to work they need guidance and direction. Interns are known for asking a lot of questions and can, in their eagerness to learn, agree to take on a project for which they lack the appropriate experience and knowledge.

Most importantly, allow interns an opportunity to learn and grow within your field. An intern should not be a glorified coffee-runner. “Don’t limit them by what you perceive their skill set to be,” says Houck. “Be more organic. Allow interns to have pride and ownership in what they accomplish in the workplace.” Bowyer says interns benefit the company most when they have tangible, measurable projects to work on.

If your company wants to set up an internship program, join forces with your local university. That way, explains Einolf, employers can learn from previously established programs, work within preset guidelines and have a larger pool from which to choose interns. Working with a university also sends the message to potential interns that the program will be a high-quality learning experience.

— Colleen Moran

Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

More Articles

Podcast: Interview with Pete Friedes

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, August 27, 2014

082714-thumb friedesbookTom Cox interviews Pete Friedes, author of "The 2R Manager," about becoming a Best Boss.


Read more...

How to add positivity to your team

Contributed Blogs
Friday, September 12, 2014
happy-seo-orlando-clientsBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

I often talk about what leaders can do. What about followers? If you’re a team member and you’d like to add positivity to your team, what might you do?


Read more...

November/December Preview: Revenge Forestry

November/December 2014
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
BY JONATHAN FROCHTZWAJG

A flare-up in the Elliott Forest raises questions about détente in Oregon’s timber wars.


Read more...

Podcast: Turn Things Around with David Marquet

Contributed Blogs
Friday, October 17, 2014
davidmarquet thumbBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

How can you move from a command-and-control leadership model to one of true empowerment and accountability? David Marquet did, and he took notes along the way.


Read more...

Launch

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

September's Launch article features Orchid Health, BuddyUp and Inter-Europe Consulting.


Read more...

100 Best Nonprofits announced

News
Thursday, October 02, 2014

100NP14logo4WebOregon Business magazine has named the sixth annual 100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon.


Read more...

Measure 91: What Oregon Businesses Need to Know

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
91 thumbBY DIANE BUISMAN

Some common misconceptions employers have about marijuana.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS