Young adults are in a bit of a catch-22 these days. The majority of companies require a college degree in order to be considered for a position, but the education students receive during college often does not match the skills and experience required in those roles. Essentially, society demands young adults go to college, but then is not preparing them for what comes after.
Many college students seek to bridge the experience gap by participating in internship programs. We’ve illustrated in the past the benefits of internship programs to both the company and participants, such as businesses having a more qualified recruitment pipeline and the interns often finding permanent position with their company. Additionally, internships can act as a guide for supplemental learning young workers can do on their own time.
Of course, tremendous value also brings scarcity. Internships can be tough to find and the experience can be diminished by a poor manager or disorganized business. One organization is working to address these issues with a comprehensive program—the INROADS Advantage.
Not Simply An Internship
I did not take advantage of internships when I was an undergraduate and, consequently, suffered when I went looking for a job. As a result, I accepted as many internships as possible when I entered graduate school. While some were incredibly valuable, many were poorly-managed, comprised mostly of data entry or “grunt work” and rarely had opportunities for advice or mentorship.
The INROADS internship program strives to provide a holistic experience for young workers. A paid internship position, coordinated by INROADS, is only one piece of the program.
- Participants are assigned to an INROADS manager who provides year-round coaching and mentoring, as well as a corporate mentor for additional professional guidance.
- INROADS participants also volunteer time with community projects to hone leadership skills and instill the value of service.
- Most importantly, INROADS understands learning is a life-long journey, as the economy is constantly evolving and professional skills ever-changing. INROADS interns receive customized skill development training to prepare them for their internships, including regularly scheduled training and coaching sessions and, in some cases, elearning courses.
To be eligible for an INROADS Internship, applicants must be attending an accredited college/university and have at least one summer or 27 credit hours remaining before graduating. Additionally, applicants need to have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 and be interested in careers in: business, finance, accounting, economics, engineering, supply chain management, computer science/MIS, healthcare, retail management and liberal arts.
It’s the Thought That Counts
Internships are a valuable tool, not just for young workers, but for businesses as well. The value, however, depends on how much time you spend on the program’s design and the individual interns. INROADS is a great example of a thought out program that strives to go above and beyond gaining work experience, and businesses can learn more about participating in the program here.
If you’re looking to design your own program, check out our resources on how to make a memorable first day for interns (and new hires!), as well as how to design an internship program that is compliant with current federal standards.