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Creating Internship Programs that Produce Results
April 17, 2007

Recruiting and retaining talented employees is a challenge many of us face within our organization.  However, one strategy many of us have used to help us recruit and retain employees is to have a valuable internship program designed for potential future employees.  The key to creating an internship program that produces valuable results is to develop an understanding of internship programs from the student’s perspective and how you might be able to align the student’s needs with those of your organization.  On April 3-4th, hosted Creating Internship Programs that Produce Results in Kansas City, Missouri, sponsored by Agriculture Future of America. 
Stephanie Chipman, University of Missouri, discussed with participants her expertise on why internship programs are important to students, what employers should expect from student interns and how career services can help you in selecting students that will present a positive experience for your organization, as well as the student.
“It is important to be very specific of what is expected of student’s as they enter the workplace,” said Chipman.  “When students arrive it is critical to outline objectives and how the student will be evaluated.”
A student panel composed of students who have had several previous internships and experience in working with many different agribusiness companies and organizations followed.  The student panel allowed employers to gain first hand knowledge of the types of things students want and need from an internship program.
The next speaker, helped participants to gain knowledge on internship programs from an employer perspective, presented by Bob Broeckelman, Farm Credit.  Bob’s presentation helped identify why internships are important for your organization and how to build a successful internship program by sharing with participants the recruitment program currently used by Farm Credit.
Both presenters commented that if you aren’t prepared and have the wrong objectives for an internship program within your organization, these programs can be detrimental to the organization rather than helpful. 
“We have all interns complete a special project that is outlined even before we start the recruiting process,” said Broeckelman. “It is important that we don’t treat interns as manual labor.  I know they go back and tell a lot of people if they have a bad experience.”
Internship programs can become a crucial part of an organization by helping to provide a method of recruiting and retaining future potential talent for your organization.  However, in order for this program to become an important part of your organization you must focus the attention on what students want and need from an internship program and then how your organization can align themselves to fit these needs. 
The above information is just an overview of the wealth of information that was discussed during the workshop. We would like to take the time to express our sincere thanks to those that participated in the workshop, as well as a special thanks to Stephanie, Bob, our student panel members and AFA for their efforts in a successful workshop.
For more information on how can help you in the development of a successful internship program that will produce results please contact Erika Brandt, Marketing and Communications Manager via e-mail at  Visit /workshops.cfm for future workshops.

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