Intern to Employee: Developing the Talent of Northeast Indiana

September 9th, 2019

Internship Influenced Carrer Path for Northeast Indiana Student

Morgan Usher has been making cupcakes for the local farmer's market since she was 15 under the business name of Mo’s Cupcakes and Endless Sweets. While the whole family bakes and cooks something, cupcakes are her specialty.

“They are easier than most things to bake but also allow me to be creative,” Usher explained.

Since she has opened, she has also added multiple other delicious treats like cookies and cake pops to her repertoire. She realized to have a successful business she would need to be flexible and cognizant of her customer's tastes and needs, a lesson learned through an internship when she was 17.

Through a catering opportunity at The Center, Usher was able to network and express interest in obtaining an internship for the coming fall trimester.  Amanda Daniel was a part of that network and decided to introduce Usher to Jill Daniel of Daniel Menue and Pary Consulting. The two clicked and Usher was put into an internship that has helped her grow not only her professional skills but her entrepreneurial skills as well.

“She learned everything. We were able to help her look at everything she had in her product. She was able to get her product cost and she now knows labor cost. So, we were kind of the real-world person for her,” Daniel explained when reflecting on how much Usher and her business had grown.

Daniel wanted to make sure that she provided Usher an opportunity that would help her run a successful business later within the community. It was important that Usher leaves with an understanding of what it took to be in the catering world. As the official internship program at Eagle Tech Academy ended, Daniel offered Usher a position as a part-time employee. Going from intern to employee came with more real-world training, pay, and responsibilities.

“When I was an intern, I never went on caterings. So, that was an entirely new aspect and things had to be done in a more specific way.”

This transition, though different, did not take very long for Usher to get use to as her internship had given her the basis of the company and how everything worked. 

Developing Talent for the Region

Though Usher does not plan to stay with Daniel Menu and Party Consulting after she graduates from Ivy Tech’s Culinary Institution, Daniel appreciates how important internships and opportunities like the one given to Usher are.

“Do I want to lose her? Heck No! She is valuable to me, and she knows what I want. But I am realistic, and I know this isn’t what she wants,” she said.

Just because the intern doesn’t stay with the company, doesn’t mean that the company doesn’t get anything from the experience of hosting an intern. Usher was able to provide more patience to the process of Daniel’s business along with providing a decorative component to Daniel’s food. They both build off and grow from each other’s interests and skills which have helped Daniel Menu and Party Consulting continue to grow in the catering world.

To keep our industries thriving and the talent pipelines full, businesses need to provided experiences like the one Usher was able to participate in. Internships are not only a way to learn how to develop talent in their skills in their perspective fields but also to allow them to develop skills when dealing with people in a professional environment. This helps them become an asset to the entire region.

And according to both Daniel and Usher, there is no real reason not to host an intern. Its low-cost labor and the intern is much more marketable when they start applying for jobs.

So, if you are a business in the region hesitating on whether to have an internship, Daniel and Usher have one question for you, “Why not?”

-By Katie Doehrmann, 2018 Marketing Intern