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Internship Programs that Produce Results
April 15, 2009
Ashley Collins,

One component of an effective employee recruitment program, which could end up on the chopping block during tight economic times, is the internship program.  This strategy is an important element for recruiting and retaining employees for the future, or for better economic times.  The key is to maintain effective programs.   Effective programs are those programs that align student and company needs to benefit both parties.  On April 6 -7, hosted the ‘Creating Internship Programs that Produce Results’ workshop in St. Louis where employers, educational professionals and  students shared their ideas about effective internship programs.

Jenny Neef, from the University of Illinois, discussed her expertise on why internship programs are important to students, current trends in student expectations, what employers should expect from student interns, and how career services can help employers in marketing their programs on campus.  

The workshop also included a student panel composed of students who have had several previous internships and experiences working with many different agribusiness companies and organizations. The student panel allowed employers to gain first-hand knowledge of the types of things students want and need from an internship program.

Vicki Kloeckner from The Maschoffs and Rachel Holdren from Pioneer Hi-Bred provided their employer perspectives.  Each covered information regarding the success of their programs and helped identify why internships are important in their organization.  They discussed the structure for their company internship programs and how they involve key management personnel to support the program and serve as mentors for the students.   Both presenters commented that those who aren’t prepared and have the wrong objectives for an internship program, could find that these programs could become detrimental to the organization rather than helpful.

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. And while they may not seem to be a top priority in the current economy, they would likely provide a tremendous ROI in the future.  However, in order for these programs to become an important part of your organization, you must focus the attention on what students want and need from an internship program, and how your organization can align a program 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

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