How To Structure a Successful Internship Program
Memorize These Five Tips for State-Compliant Success
Is your company considering implementing an internship program for young and future professionals? If your business is ready to reap the full benefits of creating a professional internship program but isn’t sure where to begin, worry not! Campus Wichita supports businesses that need help creating valuable internship programs for students and understands the necessary steps to create an engaging program for interns to succeed in the workforce. By offering an internship program and developing young professionals, you can not only provide recent graduates with valuable experience in their field of study, but you can attract new talent and mold ambitious young minds. Learn more as we detail how to structure a successful internship program below!
Hire an Internship Coordinator
To ensure your internship program is manageable and runs smoothly, first hire an internship coordinator to oversee your program. If you do not appoint a leader with a distinct vision and goal, your program may not be as successful or valuable as you had hoped. Your program coordinator should help outline the program goals and remain in charge of implementation. Before publishing that new job listing, look within your company and see if it would be beneficial to assign these additional responsibilities to one or two full-time employees familiar with how your company operates. Just ensure that your full-time employees will still have adequate time to perform their current duties!
Research State-Specific Laws
Before meeting with your internship coordinator and structuring your new program, review and understand your states’ specific laws and requirements for employing interns. While some states require that interns be paid for their hours contributed, others solely require an exchange of college credit hours for time worked. Depending on your local laws and regulations, the minimum wage, compensation, and benefits you are legally required to provide will vary.
Set Program Goals
Because new internship programs can oftentimes be too optimistic in their initial scope, it’s important that your business determines the length of the internship and the set number of interns you hope to take on. Once you have this finalized, set realistic goals for how your interns will support the team and work within your current system. Determine whether you would like them to assist with daily duties or if you would like to assign them to work on more long-term projects. Regardless of how you choose to approach this, find a way to track their progress and keep them updated about their performance throughout the internship.
Create an Application
Once you have specifically outlined the goals for your internship program, consider the types of interns you would like to attract to your place of business and begin to brainstorm how to attract those qualities in your application process. You may choose to go the traditional route and request that all applicants submit a cover letter and a resume detailing their experience. Alternatively, you can create a more outside-the-box application, asking for examples of past work, personal essays, or a creative sample assignment. During this time, begin to craft a list of interview questions you plan on asking during the interview process.
Assign Each Intern a “Mentor”
When structuring an internship program, consider assigning each intern a mentor to provide personalized feedback and guidance on projects. Not only do you want to gain something from employing interns, but you also want to provide beneficial feedback and valuable experience for the intern. Assigning junior-level mentors that work at the company can help create a relaxed relationship to help promote professional growth. Many times, interns may have questions they don’t feel comfortable asking their direct supervisor, so providing each intern a mentor can help alleviate some stress and ensure that the job is being done correctly!
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