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Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership Creates Robust Regional Internship Program

January 4th, 2019

The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership has created a Regional Internship Program to help businesses build confidence in their internship programs to more effectively attract, develop, and retain talent in the region. It is imperative that more businesses take advantage of this opportunity to increase the amount of skilled and qualified talent available to them with a low risk program. Over the next year the Regional Partnership will be releasing an Internship Spotlight blog series that showcases the lessons of regional internship programs from businesses across the region and in every industry in an effort to display the true need and benefit that your company could have by hosting an internship program.

What is the Regional Internship Program

In alliance with Fort Wayne Metals, the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership has created a Regional Internship Program for Employers to help any organization within our region’s 11 counties create or refine a customizable internship program. The Regional Partnership will do everything from helping implement an entire program, to providing training on how to use, to project planning and mentor training. They also provide different events throughout the year that not only allow for businesses to connect and collaborate but also for interns to participate and network at. Whether a company needs workshops or one on one consultations, the Regional Internship Program for Employers is a free resource customized to their needs.

Sweetwater Interns Slide into Experience through their internships

What Makes a Quality Internship

Internships must be high-quality and robust programs to be effective. The effectiveness of an internship program can be measured through five main steps. They include recruitment, onboarding, development, socialization and evaluation. Without there being a plan in place before starting the internship, it will be impossible to stay organized and get the most out of the internship program.

Step 1: Recruitment

Recruitment is the first step in measuring how strong an internship is because it is also the step that requires the most planning. Before a company can start recruiting, they must have something in which they are recruiting for. This means they need to create a job description, come up with a list of potential projects and all the benefits of the internship before they post anything about needing an intern. Then a company must decide where to pull applicants from, train their managers on interviews and decide what exactly they are looking for in an intern.

Step 2: Onboarding

Onboarding requires another level of planning to happen before an intern arrives for their first day at the company. Time should be set aside for the intern to meet everyone and get familiar with the company. This process should be very similar to how companies onboard new employees, as an intern should be treated as though they are part of the company too.

Step 3: Development

Development is going to show the progress and the growth on not only a company’s intern but also their internship program. It consists of the midway review, career consultations and preparing the interns for their final presentation about their time with the company. This is also a great time to adjust or change course, if needed.

Step 4: Social

The social aspect of the internship comes with a company’s ability to integrate their interns into their team on a deeper level. This can include networking events, creating social media hubs for interns and developing a culture of getting to know one another. Social allows interns to connect to a company and take ownership of their position within an internship. This step can seem overwhelming or intimidating to some companies, the important thing to remember is that a company does not need to do some grand gesture. Small things like taking your intern out to lunch, introducing them to different people around the office and check-ups throughout their time with the company are just as effective in getting your intern aquanted with the company. 

Step 5: Evaluation

Evaluation is the last step. This is where a company has potential of growing the most. The evaluation process consists of the exit interviews, intern and internship reviews and adjusting future internship programs based on the feedback received. This is extremely beneficial for interns who are looking to better understand their strengths and weaknesses in the workforce and allows businesses run stronger internship programs in the future that garner stronger results. These experiences give businesses the opportunity to create a stronger workforce in Northeast Indiana by allowing them to train talent in the skills and positions that companies desperately need, while also giving them insights on how to improve themselves. 

Internships in Northeast Indiana are extremely important in attracting, developing and retaining talent.

The Regional Internships Program knows there are a ton of companies with amazing internships already working in our region. To show the benefits and need for internships, we will be posting an Internship Spotlight blog once a month. These blogs will be a mix of company, intern and industry perspectives on how internships affect our region and why they are so important in our fight for talent development, attraction and retention.


By Katie Doehrmann