There is an opportunity to grow internships in Lewis County. Internships should be a part of our economic strategy model to retain our best and brightest; to provide a pathway for young professionals to return home to Lewis County after pursuing education opportunities. Students are likely to move where they see opportunity for employment following graduation. Our workforce age in Lewis County continues to see lower than average representation of people in their 20’s and 30’s. Lower numbers for these age groups will mean future challenges in filling skilled jobs, leadership gaps, and needs for community volunteers go unmet. Retaining our young people through internship programs and other means is imperative to our community’s future success.
Hosting an intern is a great way to try out potential employees and gain extra help for a short period of time. Unlike trainee programs, interns are not entitled to a position at the end of their program. Most interns are looking to determine if they have an interest in a particular career, to create a network of contacts, to acquire a recommendation letter to add to their resume, or to gain college credit. Interns may be high school students, university students, or post-graduate adults. These positions may be paid or unpaid and are usually temporary. Some interns find permanent, paid employment with the organizations they worked for upon completion of the internship.
Most internships involve some “grunt work” – whether it’s data entry, filing, or scheduling appointments; however, interns should be given real responsibility when the grunt work is done. This responsibility should teach them useful, real-life skills that will benefit him/her in their future careers. Whether it be at the company where they are working or elsewhere they should learn time management, communications, project management/planning, leadership etc. Internship programs ideally give the student opportunity to gain insight into how the industry works and how the company operates.
You should expect your intern to be a proactive part of the team; someone who will ask questions to gain understanding, report progress to a supervisor and take constructive criticism. It is a common understanding that internships are career “try-outs” – whether the intern is trying to impress their supervisor for the purpose of attaining a position with the company or just a glowing recommendation letter for college/work. Interns will be expecting to make contacts as they network throughout the course of their internship. This will open opportunities for them in the future, and throughout their lives.