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Design and Develop Your Internship

Taylor Davis
Hispanic man with black hair wearing red shirt

Design and Develop Your Internship

There are a few keys things to know on your journey to designing and developing your new internship program, so let’s talk about them!

Before you’re ready to interview and hire an internship, you need to have a strong foundation established. This process can be defined in two main steps: evaluating internal fit and outlining the internship opportunity.

 

Evaluate Internal Fit

Determine if an internship is an appropriate path to talent development within your organization by choosing leadership, determining goals and policies, and understanding compensation, benefits, and FSLA laws.

Considerations

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?
  • Should your program be registered with the U.S. Department of Labor?
  • What is the scope of work that the intern will be completing?
  • Does your industry or organization require skills not typically provided in a classroom setting?
  • Do you have difficulty recruiting and retaining quality employees?
  • Can your organization or employees benefit from the help of an intern?

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.

Choose Leadership

To begin a successful internship program, your organization should have strong internal leaders, as well as external support. Internal examples can include project leads, direct supervisors, office directors, human resources, and recruiting staff. Support from external leaders can include key community stakeholders, workforce partners, and educational institutions.

Determining Goals and Policies

Your organization will need to define priorities and create goals. 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 as you are wishing to develop your business.

To define what outcomes your business wishes to gain from creating an internship program, it will be important to establish metrics to track progress throughout the program and make changes as needed to better support the intern and organization. Examples of possible metrics can include:

  • 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.

Compensation and Benefits

Traditionally interns receive a lower rate of pay than that of a full-time employee in a similar role as they are slowly learning the processes of the organization. Individual organizations should determine the rate of pay for an intern that is commensurate with industry standards. The best rule of thumb is that an intern should be earning some form of monetary compensation.

The value of your program can be enhanced if interns have the opportunity to transition into gainful, full-time employment at the conclusion of their internship. This is something that should be considered when developing an internship program and can be categorized as an opportunity for return on investment.

 

Outline Internship Opportunity

Create the framework for your internship by determining the scope of work you wish to be performed and which target intern can fill that role.

Determine Scope of Work

Deciding what the intern can and will be responsible for will help your organization decide on a target intern, which type of internship to offer and create a job description. To determine what scope of work your internship will offer, consider the following:

  • 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?

Select a Target Intern

Any internship program created for your organization should reflect a realistic role in your organization. As a rule of thumb, most internships should be created to address areas with the largest number of positions available, typically an entry-level role over a high skill, high experience role. This can include roles that have high turnover rates or are difficult to fill. However, internships should not replace any full-time existing positions.

Bottom line: It’s important to consider what skills you wish your intern/s to possess before deciding which type of internship you want to offer.

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Once you’ve worked through these two steps, you will have established a strong foundation to build your internship program upon. You’re ready to write a job description, advertise the opportunity, and hire your intern!

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 you step-by-step through the development process. Have questions? Email Taylor Davis, the Wichita Falls Talent Partnership Director, at Taylor@WichitaFallsChamber.com.

 

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