Can You Just Dust Off A Desk And Launch an Internship Program?
Having Interns Requires Some Planning, But How Much?
Some employers say that the best way to bring interns into your organization is to do the equivalent of throwing them into the deep end of the pool. Translated, this means just have them show up and find their way.
Some start-up companies may favor this type of approach, but the start-up companies that NOCHE interviewed believe that it’s better to offer interns a guided experience with set expectations and a structured plan for how they will receive feedback.
APPROPRIATE WORK FOR INTERNS
At Improved Consulting and Training Group, Ellen Burts-Cooper says that most of the preparation involves making sure that there is work that is appropriate for the interests of the intern.
“There’s a lot of preparation that goes into having interns come into the company.“ – Burts-Cooper
MINIMAL WORK AND PREPARATION
Sunny Lurie, CEO of Advanced Performance and Fast Focus Careers, says bringing on interns requires some – but don’t panic – not a lot of preparation.
“You look around and say, where are my needs right now and how can I turn something into a project.”– Lurie
Don’t fear interns; it’s not that hard to bring them in
Jim Cossler, chief executive officer of the Youngstown Business Incubator, said he realizes that some organizations are reluctant to work with interns because they fear that it will take too much time for planning and hand-holding. But Cossler said that fear is baseless if the organization’s leaders hire the right person.
“If you get the right intern, it’s not time consuming at all.” – Jim Cossler
PLANNING IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS
Linda Miller, manager of training and development for the Centers for Families and Children, says that planning is the key to successful internship programs. From job descriptions to set expectations, she said interns must know what will be expected of them and what they can expect of the employer.
“… we really take our interns and make them a part of our staff.” – Miller
Click here for a S.M.A.R.T. Goals worksheet
Planning the Internship Program:
- Define goals for the program
- Create S.M.A.R.T. Goals – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely
- Determine meaningful work for the intern
- Identify job Responsibilities
Common Goals for Developing an Internship Program:
- Fresh solutions to routine issues
- Assist with special projects
- Affordable workforce support
- Increase productivity
- Familiarize intern with workspace and environment
- Set expectations
- Develop a plan
- Agree on goals
- Review policies and handbook
- Explain evaluation process