Creating Lasting Relationships Through Northeast Indiana Regional Internships
Welcoming interns into the company culture is extremely important when it comes to running a successful internship program. It can also be one of the most intimidating steps for companies to perform. Vera Bradley and Orthoworx have both become leaders in implementing social events and activities that help engage and involve interns in the company and surrounding community.
Vera Bradley Creates Family Environment for Northeast Indiana Interns
Talking to the six interns at Vera Bradley is like talking to a group of old friends. Even though they all work in different departments and go to school in states across the Midwest—Iowa, Ohio, and Georgia to name a few—they have become a family and support system for one another. For many of them, this was their first time living outside of their home state, but there was very little homesickness in the room.
When the interns said they often hang out outside of work, they began laughing and sharing inside jokes. The interns clearly enjoyed the company culture and team dynamic. They went on and on about the ‘Donut Wednesdays’ and ‘French Fry Fridays’ Vera Bradley hosts in their cafeteria for them and the whole company. The interns also had a cookout with lawn games. They talked about how they lean on each other, and some of them even live together. Others text each other for help when they do not know where to find a printer or do not know where an event is being held. They even carpool if they go home on the weekends.
These interactions are not forced either. It is a product of socializing your interns within the company and the community.
Orthoworx Organizes Community Activities for Interns
Vera Bradley is not the only one who has made socializing their interns a priority. Orthoworx, a small nonprofit in Warsaw, Ind., focuses on preserving and growing the orthopedic industry in Kosciusko County. Every summer they welcome 5-7 interns to work on projects specific to the needs of the orthopedic industry at that time.
The interns range from education majors to engineers to marketers. Gennie Brissette-Tipton, who oversees Orthoworx’s internship program, makes sure that interns not only complete their summer project but also get the opportunities to experience everything that the region has to offer.
They have a beach outing where they are able to play sand volleyball or cornhole. They also go to see the Fort Wayne TinCaps play and they even host an outing at The Alley: a downtown hang out spot with outdoor seating, lawn games, free WIFI, restaurant and pub.
These events create an engaging summer for interns to grow in their fields of expertise while growing their network. If companies want to take their internship program to the next level, they must help make their interns experience more than just project plans and excel spreadsheets. They must get their interns out in the community and getting to know one another.
-By Jakob Coker, 2018 Regional Intiatives Intern