Newton, Pa. — March 26
The Internship Institute declares that it’s “open season” for businesses and nonprofits to recruit interns and plan ahead to make summer programs successful.
This purpose of this advisory is to ensure “host organizations” heed the easily overlooked academic calendar and window of opportunity to reap the benefits of recruiting college students and other workforce talent and creating a successful internship program.
“What too few employers and organizations realize is that internships represent a tremendous untapped opportunity to create a strategic business advantage,” said Matthew Zinman, The Internship Institute executive director and founder. “Companies and nonprofits can infuse their bottom line with valuable talent while addressing labor shortages, skills gaps, ‘brain drain’ and productivity deficiencies and fulfill corporate social responsibility goals while yielding significant gains for the bottom line.”
The Internship Institute is the nonprofit affiliate of Z University (ZU), which markets a turnkey internship system.
This includes an instructional video on program management, “The Blueprint for Internship Success,” and a comprehensive set of useful materials with Intern Toolkit, which together provide every advantage for employer “host organizations” to make their internship program the very best it can be.
According to The Internship Institute, those wishing to take immediate action to establish an internship program or improve an existing one should follow three key steps.
1. Define internal needs and wants. Companies should develop a job description based on defined needs such as projects involving research, writing, planning and online/telephone outreach.
2. Ask those in the know. Contact the career services departments of area higher education institutions well ahead of summer to establish relationships and how to best recruit the right candidates based on defined needs.
3. Prepare Internally. Internship programs don’t run themselves, but advance preparation is key. Resources such as Z University’s Intern Toolkit will make intern programs as easy as possible to implement and improve.
“Any organization that hires college graduates or could benefit from an extra hand or second pair of eyes can turn an internship program to their advantage,” Zinman said. “All it takes is a little planning and creativity, and the interns can do the rest.”
Organizations that are mulling summer internship plans in 2007 can take the Internship Institute’s free Value-Feasibility Assessment, which qualifies how valuable an internship program might be to the prospective organization
It also provides a sense of how feasible it is to manage the program effectively.
“Interns are highly capable, highly motivated and — if well managed — highly valuable,” Zinman said. “The five core skills that bring value to just about any business involve research, writing, planning, telephone and computer work.”
Examples of meaningful intern projects include:
- Conduct surveys
- Perform competitive intelligence research
- Uncover and pursue marketing opportunities
- Develop and manage Web site content
- Write and edit articles
- Plan events
- Prepare presentations
For those considering whether to launch a program or resume an existing program, ZU’s Intern Toolkit is a resource designed to ensure successful results for both the organization and its interns.
It enables employers and nonprofits to run an internship program in a way that increases productivity and raises the quality of the student internship experience.
Internship programs provide a “win-win” solution for companies by addressing social concerns and boosting corporate competitiveness.
Making internships available to candidates in the public workforce also can demonstrate a corporate commitment to underserved and underprivileged populations, while creating another talent pool of productive workers.
“A common misconception is that organizations and individuals don’t have the time to run an internship program,” Zinman said. “But with the right tools and preparation, internships can deliver a strategic business advantage. The key is advance planning — a small investment of time to ensure that proper resources are allocated and that job requirements and goals are clear.”