With a rapidly booming economy, it can certainly be a challenge for our Collier County businesses to find good help. A solution? Interns
The good news is, The Leadership Collier Foundation™ along with its community partners are working to change that! By working with local businesses, we can connect high school and college students with meaningful workplace experiences that not only jumpstart a student’s professional journey but retains local talent critical to the future of Collier County’s workforce.
Collier County companies, large and small, are already experiencing the impact. Thomas Riley Artisans Guild, a local firm of fine interior craftsman, has long been an advocate of work-based learning and has supported Collier County students with internships for over 5 years. Melissa Griffith, human resources manager, believes “By participating as a business partner our intention is to plant seeds of inspiration with our student interns who are about to enter college, trade school, or the workforce, expose them to a professional work environment and help them find their passion.”
“We let the world nourish and grow the students and hope the fruits they bear come back to feed our local businesses, economy, and community.” But, the impact doesn’t stop with the student. From engineering to healthcare to IT, students are getting the opportunity to provide fresh perspectives and ideas, as well as, increase the company’s productivity.
Internships in Real Life?
What does it look like to take on a student intern? Historically, when you ask someone about their college internship they will usually share stories of long, unpaid afternoons glued to filing cabinets or fetching coffee for staff. And while grunt work is part of every job, the landscape of internships is drastically changing.
We like to think INTERNSHIPS = PART-TIME JOB. A student arrives with foundational skills looking to learn, but they also will support the work of the company. Paid internships with a healthy balance of meaningful work experience increase business efficiency. Furthermore, internships also create a competitive candidate pool and pipeline of future employees.
Solid succession planning recommends “growing your own” and that is exactly what our local high schools and post-secondary institutions are doing. Beginning freshman year of high school, students are exposed to industry level programs and procedures that prepare them for post-secondary degrees and entry-level careers. A student can enter high school, spend four years learning about the medical career field, come out as a certified phlebotomist and ready to work — all while attending a local university to study nursing! This is just one example of how our county is building a foundation for employers to expand upon.
I want an intern. Now what?
Myself and the chamber team can help you! We are your resource, we offer:
· Opportunities to sit down and sketch out what internship positions can look like within your business
· Access to toolkits and resources to implement internships
· Assistance with finding high-quality candidates for your position
· Additional opportunities to support other workplace experiences such as
o Job shadow day
o Worksite tour
o Speaking on a career presentation panels
o Mock interviews; and
o Student resume review opportunities
Davina Hartsfield is the Internship Coordinator for the Leadership Collier Foundation and Naples Chamber of Commerce.