Conducting a Successful Internship Program
in Greater St. Cloud

Internships are rapidly-growing programs within many modern companies - whether large or small. Today’s college student is recommended to take on at least one internship before they graduate in order to gain an advantage over the competition and take on some real-world experience before entering the job market. Internship programs have likewise improved from cliche office assistant positions of the past. There are a few things you can do to run a successful internship program within your company.

Establish a Relationship with Universities and Professors

 

Greater St. Cloud has a plethora of Universities in the surrounding area. Creating relationships with professors and university personnel is especially important. It is a great way to promote your internship program in a university and gain interested, qualified interns. Establishing a relationship with a campus professor or department coordinator is the first step building a successful collegiate internship program.

A professor will be knowledgeable about the workload of the average student as well. A student might be compliant on paper, but seem very different when they actually start. Every student is different, and the insight of a professor can be incredibly helpful.

Attend alumni events and conduct classroom presentations whenever possible. It is not as hard as it may seem, especially once you get started, and the evolving relationships you build will be important to your company’s future.

If you want to connect with a local university, most often you begin by visiting their career services site. From there, you will most often find a contact available to get you started.


Ensure That All Parties Benefit From An Internship

Ensure that your intern's talents match your company's needs.

Ensure that your intern's talents match your company's needs.

Internships are not just an opportunity for your company to gain a free assistant or coffee gopher for a few months.  Both your company and the intern should benefit from a successful internship program. After all, people enter into an internship with the expectation of gaining real-world experience.

An important factor to keep in mind is that different students in different majors have vastly different talents – even students in the same major have different talents. For example, if you are looking for a Mass Communications major to help out with design and advertising, it would be unrealistic to expect that person to cover all areas - videographer, designer, writer, etc. Interns are both providing services to and learning from your company during an internship.

Check out this article from WJON here, detailing the benefits of internships and why employers should consider them. The article highlights how internships help expose students to opportunities right here in the Greater St. Cloud area.

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, companies who hire interns retain 89 percent of hires after one year. Around 73 percent are still employed after five years.

Structure is Important

Plan your company’s internship strategy ahead of time. It is important to give the interns a detailed plan of the tasks they will be expected to complete in the very beginning of an internship. Make sure they are comfortable in one area of instruction before moving on to something new. Interns and new recruits will be much more efficient and will learn faster if they understand what they are doing and what they are looking for in their roles.

Adjustments are usually needed when an internship program is first starting out. Ask the interns about their experience at the end of their program and give them the opportunity to answer honestly regarding areas of success and needed improvement. Ask them especially about the workload – how well they felt they completed tasks, whether or not they felt the workload was too large, or if they felt they could have taken on more duties.

 

Compensation and Credits

There are two main ways in which an intern is compensated: through money or experience.

college students growth

Whichever your company chooses, the internship program should focus on education.

In most cases, it is possible to work with professors and university departments so that an internship can replace a class or a certain number of credits for the student. This is where a strong relationship with university personnel becomes especially important.

Offering your interns a stipend is another option. The amount can depend on the workload and possibility of credits and often vary from company to company. Whatever you company’s dollar amount, be sure to give your interns real-life experiences they can take with them. Oftentimes, it really is the most important compensation to a student.

Students who are involved to have a good time during their internship tend to be the most successful. If a student finds they get what they are looking for from an internship, they’ll tell their friends and your company’s program will grow organically. In the end, an internship program should be about the intern, not the company.

It all takes time. Internship programs are certainly not a quick way to earn some cheap labor for your company. Successful programs are run by companies that know they need to (and are will to) put in some hard work.


Internship postings are now free to post on JobSpot!

Sign up, and post your internship listings today at GreaterStCloudJobSpot.com.