How To: Create Goals and Policies for an Internship Program

Once you have determined who will be apart of your team of stakeholders, your first task as a team will be defining priorities of the program and shaping policies to match those priorities.

Answer these questions to help you determine your priorities:

  • Why are you creating an internship program? What are you hoping to gain?
  • What are your organization’s values and how can you align the internship program with them?
  • Are there high-value opportunities to partner with local educational institutions?
  • What resources does your organization possess and how can those resources support your internship program?
  • Who are your target interns and how can they benefit from participating in your internship program?

Now that you know your priorities and purpose, you can develop policies for your internship program that focuses on safety, return on investment, company culture and values. The great news is that many will overlap with the policies you already have in place, so use your existing employee handbook as your starting point.

Examples of where policies may diverge between interns and employees can include:

  • Resources, funding pools, pay and benefits
  • Onboarding
  • Nature of employment/conduct and work performance
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Dress code
  • Evaluations
  • Telephone and email use

Using your newly outlined priorities and policies, you can set goals for both the individual intern and the program.

Goals can include:

  • Creating a pipeline of talented individuals to fill positions as needed
  • Creating investment and engagement in your talent pool to mitigate turnover
  • Supporting your local community members and students
  • Fostering relationships with local schools and organizations.

To achieve these goals, it’s important to set small, actionable items for the intern to work toward. This is best done at the start of the internship between the supervisor and intern. When working together to determine where to start, it’s important to gain input from the intern about their ideal learning goals to ensure the relationship is mutually beneficial and becomes a positive experience; this is especially important if you’re hoping to transition your interns into full-time employment. This conversation is the perfect segue into discussing workplace requirements, responsibilities, and all other priorities and policies that you have created for your program through this process.

Lastly, it’s important to obtain both qualitative and quantitative data to track progress throughout the program and make changes as needed to better support the intern and organization. Qualitative data can from anecdotal experiences shared by the intern during the evaluation process.

For quantitative data, you can consider gathering the following possible data sets:

  • Number of interns served
  • Services or products provided directly by the intern, if applicable
  • Conversion and retention rate to full-time employment
  • Cost per intern hire

With both the competition and growing need for talented workforce increasing, internships allow for opportunities to recruit and retain individuals in Wichita Falls and the surrounding area. There is an intern to fit your every need at every level of education and experience.

Ready to get started? Refer to our free Employer Guide to take your step-by-step through the development process. Have questions? Email Taylor Davis, the Wichita Falls Talent Partnership Director, at Taylor@WichitaFallsChamber.com.

Internship How-To: Choosing Leadership During Internship Program Development

So, you’re ready to start the process of developing an internship process. You’ve made your considerations and determined what kind of intern and internship you wish you pursue. Now it’s time for your next step; choosing who will provide guidance and leadership for your program creation, development, and implementation.

To begin a successful internship program, your organization will need a mix of strong internal and external support.

Internal Support – Your Team Members

Internal support, as inferred, is made up of your team members who have skills and interest in training, mentorship and strategic alignment. This group will help keep your program on-track with your business needs and achieving goals. Internal examples can include: project leads, direct supervisors, office directors, human resources and recruiting staff.

External Support – Your Community

External supporters can allow your internship program tied into a larger community goal of developing and retaining home-grown talent. Additionally, external supporters may be able to provide your intern with unique opportunities for growth and connection while also providing your organization with resources for success. External organizations could include (but are not limited to) the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce, Workforce Solutions North Texas, Texas Department of Labor, labor unions and other local community leaders.

A well-rounded team of stakeholders will assist in defining a unified vision and help set goals, benchmarks and measurables to define what a healthy program will look like. There is also the opportunity to use diverse perspectives to make changes or improvements as needed.

Now that you have your perfect leadership team in place, it’s time to get to work on outlining your internship program! Refer to our free Employer Guide to take your step-by-step through the development process. Have questions? Email Taylor Davis, the Wichita Falls Talent Partnership Director, at Taylor@WichitaFallsChamber.com.

_______________________________________

What are the different types of interns?

High School Students
Undergraduate Students
Graduate Students
Returning Workforce
Active Duty, Veterans, Military Spouses

What are the different types of internships?

Internship
Co-Op
Returnship
Externship
Fellowship
Apprenticeship

Why should I hire an intern?

Flexibility
Leadership and professional development opportunities for employees
Increase employee retention
New ideas and perspectives
Connection to educators and community
Save money when compared to hiring a part-time or full-time employee

Read Internship Considerations

Read Types of Interns Part 1

Read Types of Interns Part 2

Read Reasons to Hire an Intern

Ready to Develop an Internship? Consider This First!

Growing your own talent by providing on-the-job-training will give interns insight into the day-today operations of your business. This results in more efficient assimilation if a full-time offer is extended. Additionally, this offers a chance for employers to screen potential employees before investing in permanent hiring. You’re probably thinking, “Great! Sign me up,” but there are some considerations to make before you take the leap. The first step in starting any internship process is to determine the internal needs of the organization.

Consider the following before deciding to host an internship:

Will the intern be governed by an institution, such as Midwestern State University or Vernon College?

When hiring a “traditional” intern typically defined as an undergraduate student, it is important to know the requirements that their institution may have if the student is receiving credit for their internship with you. This is an important consideration to make because it may shape how your processes, such as evaluations, will take place. The good news is that this information is readily available on each institution’s website and usually responsibility for proper completion and documentation is on the student.

Bottom Line: Create your own policies around on-boarding, evaluations and duration and adjust on a case-by-case basis to accommodate the student’s needs.

Should your program be registered with the U.S. Department of Labor?

In general, individual internship programs are not required to be registered with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). However, if you are considering offering a Apprenticeship, there are significant benefits for becoming registered with the DOL. Components of a registered apprenticeship according to the DOL include: “Paid Job, On-the-Job Training, Classroom Learning, Mentorship, and Credentials.”

If you’re interested in learning more about a registered apprenticeship program, you can review the DOL’s site here.

Bottom Line: Unless you are looking to gain the leverage of a national backing of a potential apprenticeship, you don’t need to register with the DOL.

What is the scope of work that the intern will be completing?

The DOL outlines that an internship should offer a trainee both a combination of education and experience that would be similar to the hands-on training that an intern would typically learn in an educational environment. Additionally, internships should not replace a full- or part-time employee. Therefore, make sure your internship consists of legitimate tasks, projects and assignments that can benefit an intern’s education. No coffee-fetching allowed!

Still need help? Answer these questions to dig down further on what your intern will be doing:

  • What will be the daily duties of the intern?
  • What skills or level of education does your intern need to possess to participate in your workforce effectively?
  • Are there age or licensing restrictions in your organization that limit the work that can be done by an individual?
  • Will you assign a special project for the intern to complete?
  • In which department can an intern best fit, and who will be their supervisor?

Bottom Line: As long as you have quality projects to complete, you can find a quality intern to help!

Does your industry or organization require skills not typically provided in a classroom setting?

The best part of creating an internship program is the opportunity to grow your own talent pool to the exactspecifications that you need for a quality employee! Exposing your intern(s) to your processes, equipment and team creates a one-of-kind, custom-built talent pool for future full-time hires.

Bottom line: Providing a new, unique experience to an intern that can’t be learned in any other setting will greatly supplement an intern’s education and it’s no more challenging than training any other new employee.

Do you have difficulty recruiting and retaining quality employees?

An internship program, especially a long-term program, will give you the opportunity to build strong connections to your interns who understand and appreciate your business or organization. The longer an intern works within your program, the more knowledge and experience they gain about the both their job and your organization. This greatly increases their ability to function as an asset on your team if hired for full-time employment.

Bottom Line: Internships allow you to build quality future employees from the ground up, and they’ll be the easiest hire you ever make.

Can your organization or employees benefit from the help of an intern?

Let’s answer a question with a question. Can your employees benefit from any of the following advantages that an intern can bring to your organization or business?

  • Allow full-time staff the flexibility to work on higher-level projects while also gaining leadership skills.
  • Increase retention.
  • Assist in the implementation of cutting-edge techniques and new ideas
  • Maintain connections with institutions.
  • Promote community involvement.
  • Recruit other students within their program and increase pipeline prospects.
  • Allow your company to give back to the community by teaching, molding, and mentoring the prospective workforce.

Bottom line: if you answer YES to any of the above questions, an internship will be very advantageous for your business or organization.

Lastly, employers should also consider the costs to beginning an internship program, which can include wages, housing, networking activities, recruitment costs, work materials and training costs.

With both the competition and growing need for talented workforce increasing, internships allow for opportunities to recruit and retain individuals in Wichita Falls and the surrounding area. There is an intern to fit your every need at every level of education and experience.

Ready to get started? Refer to our free Employer Guide to take your step-by-step through the development process. Have questions? Email Taylor Davis, the Wichita Falls Talent Partnership Director, at Taylor@WichitaFallsChamber.com.

Read Types of Interns Part 1

Read Types of Interns Part 2

What are the different types of interns?

High School Students
Undergraduate Students
Graduate Students
Returning Workforce
Active Duty, Veterans, Military Spouses

What are the different types of internships

Internship
Co-Op
Returnship
Externship
Fellowship
Apprenticeship

Why should I hire an intern?

Flexibility
Leadership and professional development opportunities for employees
Increase employee retention
New ideas and perspectives
Connection to educators and community
Save money when compared to hiring a part-time or full-time employee

Thinking Outside the Internship Box: Part 2

In my last article, I outlined the talent pools that you can tap when creating an internship program. Today, I am sharing with you the different types of internship programs that you can create to benefit your organization. Thinking outside of a traditional internship model can help you tailor a program that best fits your needs while still connecting your organization to the community and creating a self-made hiring pool. This is ideal for an employer who is experiencing workforce challenges but, does not have the ability to take on the training and development of the usual three-month, student-intern model. Learn more about different types of internships below:

Internship

Temporary employment of a high school or college student, sometimes without pay, for them to learn more about industry as it relates to their education, typically taking place over a summer or semester session.

Co-Op

Hands-on, experiential learning that supplements curriculum provided by an educational institution, typically hosted over a longer time frame of six to nine months.

Returnship

Developing and orienting experienced, talented individuals who are seeking to re-enter the workforce after an extended absence, and is not limited to a specific timeframe as it is not tied to an academic program.

Externship

Temporary training program in a workplace, similar to a job shadowing opportunity with a hands-on component, that offers an inside look to how an organization functions or provides goods and services, typically not to exceed more than a few days, weeks or up to a month in length.

Fellowship

Professional development and mentoring-focused training program for highly educated or experienced professionals to benefit a specific organization that is looking to expand leadership, typically lasting a few months to several years.

Apprenticeship

Defined as “earn and learn,” an apprenticeship combines formal education with on-the-job training opportunities to learn both technical and soft skills, typically lasting a few months to a year, with an option to hire at the conclusion of the program.

Though traditional timelines have been provided in the above definitions of internships, it’s important to consider the positive impact of retaining an intern for an extended period. The longer an intern works within your program, the more knowledge and experience they gain about the both their job and your organization. This greatly increases their ability to function as an asset on your team if hired for full-time employment.

With both the competition and growing need for talented workforce increasing, internships allow for opportunities to recruit and retain individuals in Wichita Falls and the surrounding area. There’s an intern to fit your every need at every level of education and experience. Ready to get started? Refer to our free Employer Guide to take your step-by-step through the development process. Have questions? Email Taylor Davis, the Wichita Falls Talent Partnership Director, at Taylor@WichitaFallsChamber.com.

What are the different types of interns?

High School Students
Undergraduate Students
Graduate Students
Returning Workforce
Active Duty, Veterans, Military Spouses

Why should I hire an intern?

Flexibility
Leadership and professional development opportunities for employees
Increase employee retention
New ideas and perspectives
Connection to educators and community
Save money when compared to hiring a part-time or full-time employee

Thinking Outside the Internship Box: Types of Interns

At the Wichita Falls Chamber, we’ve re-wired our brains to not equate intern to “student.” In fact, we’re taking a broad, inclusive view at who the word “intern” should include. When you’re looking to start an internship program at your business, think of the following people:

Traditional:

High School Students—Students who are currently enrolled in secondary schools or recent graduates who have not yet began a post-secondary institution or higher education program.

Undergraduate Students—Students who are currently enrolled in a 2 or 4-year post-secondary program

through an accredited higher education institution, to include technical and community colleges or recent graduates who have yet to enter the workforce.

Graduate Students—Students who are currently enrolled in a graduate-level program at an accredited higher education institution or recent graduates who have yet to enter the workforce.

Non-Traditional:

Returning Workforce—Individuals who are re-entering the workforce after a hiatus due to medical concerns, caregiving, living overseas, etc. However, this category can also include adult learners or individuals making a career change.

Active Duty, Veterans, Military Spouses—Typically displaced workers due to the military, this population can include individuals who are planning to separate from service, have recently done so, or their spouses. This is typically a population that is not considered as a recruitment pool for the workforce but has great experience and potential to contribute to an industry. Additionally, there can be national and local incentives to hiring from this population, such as the Department of Defense Skills Bridge.

Another way to think outside the box with interns is to hire them on for a longer amount of time. Usually, when we think of interns, we think of a short three-month “job shadow” type of experience. I’m encouraging you and your business to think long-term. After you keep an intern on for six months, one year, two years or more, they are going to know your business inside and outside. With less training needed during the transition, it’ll be the easiest full-time hire you ever make.

With both the competition and growing need for talented workforce increasing, internships allow for opportunities to recruit and retain individuals in Wichita Falls and the surrounding area. There’s an intern to fit your every need at every level of education and experience. Ready to get started?

Refer to our free Employer Guide below to take you step-by-step through the development process.

Talent-_Partnership_Internship_Guide

If you have questions, please email Taylor Davis, the Wichita Falls Talent Partnership Director.

What are the different types of internships?

1. Apprenticeships – High school students, Undergraduate students, returning workforce, active duty, veterans, military spouses.
2. Returnship – Returning workforce, active duty, veterans, military spouses.
3. Co-Op – Undergraduate students, graduate students
4. Fellowship – returning workforce, graduate students, active duty, veterans, military spouses.
5. Externship – HIgh school students, returning workforce
6. Internship – High school students, undergraduate students, graduate students