Interns: Yay or Nay?

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They come.....they go......they ask alot of questions.  So, do we REALLY want to invest the time to train interns every semester?  Umm, YEAH!!!!! We do!!!!  Internship programs offer learning experiences that will provide students, as well as the community in which they work, with highly skilled lifelong learners.  Hey, even the most seasoned pros don't know everything there is to know.  They engage in life long learning as well.  We expect that under our guidance, these student interns will maintain exceptional standards of practice and ethics necessary to catapult the profession forward.

Did you know......

  • In a recent survey conducted by NACE (National Association of Colleges and Emploers), 82.5% offer interships and/or co-ops.
  • In today's tight labor market, offering such programs can be a significant way to lure new talent.
  • Student interns can meet short-term needs for extra help and bring new, energetic enthusiasm to the firm

Planning for the intern......

  • Make sure the intern is assigned a buddy, and there is work available.  Sitting around idle is not ideal at all
  • Ensure the intern has a space of their own to work in.  It will make them feel like they are a part of the team
  • Decide if the internship will be paid or unpaid
  • Ask...can the firm support more than one intern at a time
  • How long will the program last

We have an intern......hooray!!!  Now what.....

  • Make sure they feel welcomed....introduce them to everyone
  • Student interns seek assignments that will provide them with real experience and stimulate them.  While it is necessary for them to scan to get to know the firm forms, 8 hours a day everyday isn't going to cut it
  • Make sure there is adequate supervision
  • Include the intern(s) in firm events as they are part of the team for the timeframe they are with the firm
  • Take them along to networking opportunities so they can learn this fine art early on
  • Document the progress of the intern

As this is only a snapshot of what can be done, an internship can be a true learning experience if feedback is provided.  If there is no feedback, then everyone's time has been wasted.  Evaluate both the accomplishments as well as improvement needed.  These students are green to the profession, and the only way they can grow and learn is by constant feedback.  The Gen Y's expect feedback and want to know how they are doing.

The worst thing that can happen to a firm is having an intern leave and say to all their friends the program and/or experience sucked!

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