Internship Programs: Workforce Opportunity

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<p><strong>Newton, Pa. &mdash; March 26</strong><br />The Internship Institute declares that it&rsquo;s &quot;open season&quot; for businesses and nonprofits to recruit interns and plan ahead to make summer programs successful.<br /><br />This purpose of this advisory is to ensure &quot;host organizations&quot; 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.<br /><br />&ldquo;What too few employers and organizations realize is that internships represent a tremendous untapped opportunity to create a strategic business advantage,&rdquo; said Matthew Zinman, The Internship Institute executive director and founder. &ldquo;Companies and nonprofits can infuse their bottom line with valuable talent while addressing labor shortages, skills gaps, &lsquo;brain drain&rsquo; and productivity deficiencies and fulfill corporate social responsibility goals while yielding significant gains for the bottom line.&rdquo;<br /><br />The Internship Institute is the nonprofit affiliate of Z University (ZU), which markets a turnkey internship system. </p><p>This includes an instructional video on program management, &ldquo;The Blueprint for Internship Success,&rdquo; and a comprehensive set of useful materials with Intern Toolkit, which together provide every advantage for employer &quot;host organizations&quot; to make their internship program the very best it can be.<br /><br />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.<br /><br />1. <strong>Define internal needs and wants.</strong> Companies should develop a job description based on defined needs such as projects involving research, writing, planning and online/telephone outreach.<br /><br />2. <strong>Ask those in the know. </strong>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.<br /><br />3. <strong>Prepare Internally.</strong> Internship programs don&rsquo;t run themselves, but advance preparation is key.&nbsp; Resources such as Z University&rsquo;s Intern Toolkit will make intern programs as easy as possible to implement and improve.<br /><br />&ldquo;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,&quot; Zinman said. &quot;All it takes is a little planning and creativity, and the interns can do the rest.&rdquo;<br /><br />Organizations that are mulling summer internship plans in 2007 can take the Internship Institute&rsquo;s free Value-Feasibility Assessment, which qualifies how valuable an internship program might be to the prospective organization</p><p>It also provides a sense of how feasible it is to manage the program effectively. </p><p>&quot;Interns are highly capable, highly motivated and &mdash; if well managed &mdash; highly valuable,&rdquo; Zinman said. &quot;The five core skills that bring value to just about any business involve research, writing, planning, telephone and computer work.&rdquo;&nbsp; </p><p>Examples of meaningful intern projects include: </p><ul><li>Conduct surveys</li><li>Perform competitive intelligence research</li><li>Uncover and pursue marketing opportunities</li><li>Develop and manage Web site content</li><li>Write and edit articles </li><li>Plan events </li><li>Prepare presentations</li></ul><p>For those considering whether to launch a program or resume an existing program, ZU&rsquo;s Intern Toolkit is a resource designed to ensure successful results for both the organization and its interns.&nbsp; </p><p>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. </p><p>Internship programs provide a &ldquo;win-win&rdquo; solution for companies by addressing social concerns and boosting corporate competitiveness. </p><p>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. <br /><br />&quot;A common misconception is that organizations and individuals don&rsquo;t have the time to run an internship program,&quot; Zinman said. &quot;But with the right tools and preparation, internships can deliver a strategic business advantage. The key is advance planning &mdash; a small investment of time to ensure that proper resources are allocated and that job requirements and goals are clear.&rdquo;</p>

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