With 2020 sufficiently in our rearview mirror, we found ourselves reflecting on the challenges of the year and how they paved the way for some noteworthy accomplishments.
It was March 2020 and we were just finalizing our internship plans, when we were thrown a curve ball.
After talking things through with our president, we agreed that it was important to push forward with the program, and with hiring in general. In 2007-2008, the industry slowed its hiring and we are still feeling the impact on today’s talent pool. We did not want to be part of creating yet another talent gap, so we adjusted!
Our interns started in June – instead of May – and worked through August. They were able to enjoy the same hands-on job experience that the program typically offers, but we were challenged with the enrichment opportunities we could offer. The education, networking and socializing opportunities that make our internship experience a program rather than just a summer job were limited.
We started out on the right foot with an outdoor activity that involved social distancing games, backyard games in the summer sun and fresh air. The interns were still able to network and have some competitive fun.
When it came to our educational opportunities, we made sure that everyone was safely distanced and masked. Lunches were hosted outside.
Networking? How could we do that without shaking hands?! We saluted each other instead during our “speed networking” event, where each intern cycling through had an opportunity to meet with leaders and professionals in our organization.
Allowing our interns to give back through volunteerism has been a standard part of our program. This year we found an opportunity with the food bank to go to a mobile backpack site and distribute food to those in need in an outdoor setting.
Finally, at the end of the summer when the interns gave their presentations, we opted to broadcast the presentations live to reduce the size of our in-person audience. The interns capped off their summer with a scavenger hunt in the Old Market.
We were fortunate to have some of our interns remain on through the fall semester, and one even joined us as a full-time employee. It was a successful summer and we are looking forward to welcoming our 2021 summer interns this May!