Indiana INTERNnet to Host Three Summer Networking Events for Interns, Mentors

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Roche Diagnostics interns enjoy a day at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.

Indiana INTERNnet will host a series of intern networking events this summer to encourage community engagement.

Interns from organizations throughout Central Indiana are invited to events at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis (June 14), Indianapolis Zoo (July 14) and Indiana State Fair (August 5). Each will offer professional development and networking opportunities in addition to time to explore the venues.

  • The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis event will begin at 9 a.m. (check-in at 8:30 a.m.) with professional development. Following the programming, attendees will be free to explore the museum at their leisure until it closes at 5 p.m. An optional lunch will be served around noon.
  • The Indianapolis Zoo event will take place from approximately 1-5 p.m. Following professional development programming and zoo experiences, attendees will be invited to enjoy the Animals and All That Jazz concert from 5:30-8:30 p.m.
  • The Indiana State Fair event will begin at 9 a.m. (check-in at 8 a.m.) with a welcome and networking activity where Pete the Planner will speak to attendees. Interns will be invited to enjoy the fair at their leisure and participate in an optional social media contest administered by Indiana INTERNnet. The contest will conclude in the early afternoon. Fair bucks will be provided for each attendee to be used at food vendors throughout the fair.

In 2015, nearly 200 interns participated in Indiana INTERNnet events at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and Indiana State Fair.

A feeling of community connectedness is a significant factor in a young professional’s decision regarding where he or she lives and works.

“Talent retention is at the core of Indiana INTERNnet’s mission,” emphasizes executive director Janet Boston. “To complement the real-world experience interns gain on the job, these engagement events provide an opportunity for them to build relationships through networking and develop community pride.”

Capacity is limited and registration is required. The reservation deadline is June 1 for The Children’s Museum, July 1 for the Indianapolis Zoo and July 15 for the Indiana State Fair. Contact Katie Coffin to RSVP at [email protected] or (317) 264-7535.

Internships Increasingly Important in Post-Graduation Job Search

bA new report from Grace College found that unemployment has fallen about 7% for 20- to 24-year-olds. There are many reasons for upcoming college graduates to be optimistic about their job searches, but there are also noteworthy trends that should keep expectations in check and even inspire extra effort. Internships and other work-and-learn opportunities continue to be a step toward work readiness and, in many cases, job offers.

The Class of 2015 has planned ahead for the future. According to Dan Kadlec of Time, 82% of current seniors considered the availability of jobs in their field before choosing a major – a 7% increase from 2014. The Accenture Strategy 2015 U.S. College Graduate Employment Study backs this up: 63% of 2015 grads were encouraged to pursue a STEM degree (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), compared to 52% of grads from 2013 and 2014. Jobs in STEM fields are often high-wage and high-demand, and STEM was the most popular major this year.

However, current job market realities are not all inviting for recent grads. Accenture found that 85% of the Class of 2015 expects to earn more than $25,000 per year out of the gate. But right now, 41% of the Classes of 2013 and 2014 earns $25,000 or less per year and nearly half of that group considers themselves underemployed.

Despite these trends, internships are one of the greatest reasons the Class of 2015 should feel confident as they begin their careers. Along with online and offline networking opportunities, internships can help graduates maximize their chances of landing a job. According to Accenture, 72% of current seniors participated in an internship during college. The reason for optimism? Nearly half of prior-year graduates found a job as a result of an internship, apprenticeship or co-op.

Internships have become less of a “bonus” on young professionals’ résumés and more of a necessity. Real-world work experience coupled with network building make experiential learning opportunities critical for students. That’s why it is so important for Indiana employers to offer structured, experiential opportunities and strong mentorship for tomorrow’s workforce.

Indiana INTERNnet exists to help increase the number and quality of internships throughout the state and connect employers with prospective interns. With all the statistics in mind, this work is key not only for each individual’s professional growth, but for strengthening Indiana’s future workforce, business climate and economy.

Check out this small sampling of stories about internships that led to full-time jobs on Indiana INTERNnet’s blog: Paige Prather; Lucas Hill; Chris Jones; Casey Spivey, and yours truly

Indiana INTERNnet is the catalyst for expanding the creation and use of experiential learning opportunities as a key strategy in retaining Indiana’s top talent. The online resource, www.IndianaINTERN.net, provides valuable information and tools to assist Indiana employers with their internship programs. Its searchable database links employers with thousands of individuals seeking internships. Register for your free account, post your internships and begin connecting with potential candidates today.

Indiana INTERNnet’s IMPACT Awards Celebrates 10th Anniversary

impactThe tenth time’s a charm!

Indiana INTERNnet, the statewide organization focusing on talent retention through increased work-and-learn experiences, began the tradition of celebrating internship excellence nearly a decade ago by launching the annual IMPACT Awards program. (This year’s event will be on February 3, and you can register online.)

Three winners were honored the first year: Intern of the Year Julie Ann Lesniak, Career Development Professional of the Year Libby Davis of the University of Indianapolis, and Employer of the Year Tucker Publishing Group in Evansville.

Today, the IMPACT Awards is an annual luncheon honoring Interns of the Year in the high school, college and non-traditional categories, Employers of the Year in the for-profit and not-for-profit categories and a Career Development Professional of the Year. Indiana INTERNnet will honor its tenth group of award nominees and winners in 2016. Co-founder and CMO Angie Hicks of Angie’s List will be the keynote speaker.

All honorees come from nominations submitted by the public, and winners are chosen by a panel of impartial judges. Use the online form to submit your nomination(s) in any or all of the categories by October 23.

That first group of honorees set the standard for years of inspiring stories of accomplishment by interns and on behalf of interns. Here is a sampling of some of the great work of Hoosier colleges/universities, interns and employers:

From 2012: In more than 20 years at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, Susan Gresham has proven to be a “high-energy, positive-thinking, driven and motivated leader.” As director of the Career Development Center (CDC), she leads a staff that thrives on student success. Among the initiatives led by Gresham:

  • A learning contract completed by both the student and intern employer
  • Site visits to every internship location within the state with site supervisors, through an evaluation, assigning a letter grade that accounts for 40% of the intern’s grade
  • Actively recruiting employers to campus for class presentations, panel discussions and special events
  • Establishment of an orientation program, providing interns with a name badge, business cards and leather portfolio to ease their transition into the business world

From 2013: One measuring stick of internship success is whether or not the opportunity leads to permanent employment. After serving as the 2012 governor’s public service summer intern, Casey Spivey began working as a full-time benefits specialist at the Indiana State Personnel Department (SPD). Today, she is the facility human resources director.

Spivey made an impact by assisting in the development of sourcing and recruitment plans for “hard-to-fill” positions. One organization she aided was the Hoosier Youth Challenge Academy (HYCA). She equipped the academy with a career fair plan – including advertising contacts, a detailed timeline, session speakers, newspaper ads and flyers.

“Casey basically went through a 12-week job interview with our organization with outstanding results,” states Nicole Russell, division director of talent acquisition for the Indiana SPD. “To go from student to governor’s intern to state employee is a feat to be acknowledged.”

From 2015: “2014 has been a year of excellence for our internship program,” says Valerie Wilson, chief of staff, Baldwin & Lyons (B+L). And it’s easy to see why.

  • 96% of interns reported their job responsibilities were challenging but attainable
  • 63% of interns with at least junior standing were converted to either full-time or part-time employment or another internship
  • 100% of interns expressed interest in working for B+L upon graduation

The employer-intern connection doesn’t end with the internship at B+L. This fall, employees assembled care packages with encouraging notes to send their former interns during final exams. Staff also makes an effort to visit when they are on college campuses for career fairs.

View the list of past winners online.

IMPACT Award Nominees Sought to Honor Outstanding Interns; Due Oct. 24

19090046Did you host an intern this year who went above and beyond? Does your company have an internship program that provides a solid experiential learning opportunity for students? Do you collaborate with a high school or post-secondary institution with an outstanding career development staff?

Indiana INTERNnet is saluting achievements in internships and mentoring. The organization is currently accepting nominations for the three outstanding interns, a career development professional and two employers who will be recognized at the 9th annual IMPACT Awards luncheon, sponsored by Ivy Tech Community College, early next year.

Individuals are invited to submit more than one nomination in any or all of the award categories:

  • Outstanding Intern (high school, college and non-traditional): contribution to employer’s business; demonstrated leadership skills during internship; and professionalism.
  • Outstanding Career Development Professional: assistance to students with internship opportunities; communication with students/employers; and coaching students on internship professionalism and career development.
  • Outstanding Employer (nonprofit and for-profit): innovative approach to an internship program; formation of meaningful project work; and providing student with professional mentor and networking opportunities.

Winners will be announced at the IMPACT Awards Luncheon in downtown Indianapolis on February 4, 2015 at the Ivy Tech Culinary Center Ballroom.

Visit Indiana INTERNnet’s web site to complete the online nomination form. The deadline for nominations is October 24.

For more information about the Indiana INTERNnet program, visit www.IndianaINTERN.net or call (317) 264-6852.

A Look Back at my Summer with the Chamber

It’s hard to believe that my internship is coming to a close. The time that I have spent here at the Indiana Chamber of Commerce has provided me with great opportunities to learn more about what the Chamber does.

Writing articles for the BizVoice® magazine has been a challenge and a thrill. Many of the articles that I have written required at least one interview, and sometimes more than one. At first, the interviews were a challenge because I have not done any kind of formal interviews since my senior year of high school. I had to remember all the skills that my high school journalism teacher had taught me.

Interviews were also a thrill because I never knew what I was going to learn next. Every person I talked to had an interesting story to tell about what their business is doing and their path to getting where they are now. It was incredible to hear what they had to say.

Along with great experiences, I have also met many great people. Those that I have had the pleasure to work with have been amazing. They have been helpful and wonderful to work with. There have even been days when I have wanted to stay at the office later or come in on my off days because I enjoy everyone’s company.

As I prepare to head back to Milwaukee for my final year, I want to thank everyone who made my internship a success. I will never forget the experiences that I have had here at the Chamber, and I know that they will be invaluable in my future job search.

Back to Work: From ‘Intern’ to ‘Return’

Our Indiana INTERNnet program has been touting "returnships" the last several years. The benefits are plentiful for both employers and those seeking to re-enter the workforce.

Check out some analysis below from the Challenger Gray & Christmas outplacement and consulting firm:

“Employers are consistently wary of employment gaps brought on by a layoff, parenthood, or some other life event that prohibits working. A ‘returnship’ for former or transitioning professionals with otherwise sterling employment records, but prolonged unemployment, solves this issue,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of global outplacement and business coaching consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

“Candidates, such as returning mothers or retirees, who have been out of work for six months or longer are perceived as having outdated skills.  As a result, they are often screened out early in the recruiting process.  A ‘returnship’ on a resume shows the employer that the candidates are willing to learn, have updated training and recent on-the-job experience, making them much more marketable,” said Challenger.

“The benefit to companies, unlike with entry-level interns, is that returnees can be assigned more complicated projects depending on their previous industry experience and set of skills.”

According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, Goldman Sachs offered an 8 week paid “returnship” for non-client facing departments in 2008. The effort resulted in 6 hirings from the 11 attendees. Since then, the program has grown to include positions nationwide and helped 120 individuals return to the workforce, according the company’s 2011 Environmental, Social and Governance Report. Moreover, those enrolled took on advanced tasks, such as developing training programs or creating mechanisms for client confidentiality.

“Companies would be wise to invest in ‘returnship’ programs in order to find and develop the right talent for their organization, which does not always mean the youngest or most malleable. Older professionals, returning mothers, and veterans already have the on-the-job experience most internships are created to impart on college-aged job seekers,” said Challenger.

“Professionals interested in pursuing this sort of opportunity should not sit back and wait for a company to develop a ‘returnship’ program. Request meetings with high-level executives at companies that interest you and suggest starting such a program yourself. If you can convince one company of the benefits, others may follow suit.

“Professionals should treat the process as a constant interview. Take initiative, show how you can benefit the company, befriend those who are already employed with the organization, always be on time and professional, and seek feedback,” offered Challenger.
 
# # #
 
Who Benefits From “Returnships?”

The Returning Parent – Mothers and fathers who have left the job market to raise a family often return to biased employers who are wary of their skill sets and absence from the workforce.

Transitioning Military – Former military have extensive on-the-job training in new technology, leadership development, and discipline, but lack experience with corporate culture a “returnship” would offer.

Older Workers – Older professionals have to deal with age discrimination, as well as potential gaps in employment.

Expatriates – Workers going to other countries for employment would gain necessary and helpful experience in another culture.

Long-term Unemployed – Whatever the reason for the employment gap, a “returnship” would revitalize a resume.

Employers – Recruiting interns who already have extensive on-the-job experience is valuable for any employer, as these professionals are ready to hit the ground running and take on meatier tasks.
 

Recognizing Interns, Professionals Who Make an IMPACT

The IMPACT Awards Luncheon, sponsored by Ivy Tech Community College, is still several months away, but this is a great time to start thinking about nominations. We are putting together a great program that you won’t want to miss!

The seventh annual luncheon will be Feb. 6, 2013, at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art. Registration will begin at 11 a.m., and the program will start at 11:30 a.m. The museum is offering free admission and parking to IMPACT Awards Luncheon attendees.

Caroline Dowd-Higgins is the keynote speaker, and we are looking forward to hearing an inspiring message from her. She is the director of career and professional development at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law. She is the author of This is Not the Career I Ordered and the host of a national weekly CBS Radio show, "Career Coach Caroline." The keynote will address playing to your strengths, identifying your passions and finding rewarding work.

Internship programs provide innumerable benefits to organizations and give students meaningful project work . When the programs are strong, great things happen – employers experience increased productivity and creativity, and students become more hirable and are often encouraged to stay and work in Indiana.

We invite you to take part in this event dedicated to celebrating internship excellence. Winners’ names and stories will be released to media outlets across the state and will appear in the Indiana Chamber of Commerce’s BizVoice magazine and the “Building A Better Indiana” blog. These awards are also fantastic résumé-enhancing and network-building opportunities for interns.

Again, you can find the nomination form at the Indiana INTERNnet web site. The nomination deadline is Friday, Nov. 9 at 5 p.m.  Registration is now open, and sponsorship opportunities are available.

We can’t wait to hear your success stories! If you want to give us a preview of your nomination, please share in the comments section below.
 

Internships More Valuable Than Ever as Talent Resource

It’s easy to list specific reasons why an organization should start an internship program: increased productivity, enhanced creativity, effective recruitment – to name a few. But it’s the coveted notion of saving time and money while getting quality results that’s music to the ears of any Indiana employer considering an internship program.

In fact, these days when hiring for a full-time position, some organizations may not have the time or financial resources to recruit a seasoned individual. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ (NACE) 2012 Internship and Co-op Survey (based on 952 employer responses), nearly 85% of employers said that they use internship programs as a tool for recruiting entry-level talent.

NACE’s survey also indicated that 58.6% of respondents’ full-time entry level hires from the class of ’11 were from their internship programs, an all-time high for the conversion rate.

With the rising cost of recruitment, this transitioning of interns into full-time hires may be the most viable option for some employers. NACE’s survey shows the average acceptance rate for full-time positions was astoundingly high at nearly 90%, which lowers the cost-per-hire; therefore, there is no doubt that hiring from an internship program decreases recruiting costs. 

NACE’s survey also found a positive correlation between internship experience and employee retention. Approximately three-out-of-four employees who had previously interned with their organizations were still employed there after one year. Meanwhile, 62.4% of previous interns remained with their organization after five years. 

Adding an intern—or several interns—to your organization is not only a smart recruiting strategy, it’s good business. Corporations, small businesses and non-profits can give back to the community through mentoring and offering a position to an individual seeking an internship.

There couldn’t be a more perfect time to begin your internship program. With more than 4,800 Indiana employers and about 9,000 students registered, Indiana INTERNnet is a great place to begin those internship connections. If you haven’t already, visit www.IndianaINTERN.net to register for a free employer or student account. 

5 Important Skills Job Seekers Should Master

Ragan takes a look at a few key skills that recent grads, interns and anyone searching for a job should focus one if he/she hopes to be employable:

1. Hone your telephone etiquette.

Thanks to the texting takeover, phone manners have become exceptionally rare. “Hey, girl” may be appropriate for your personal calls (actually, it still probably isn’t), but if you answer the phone like that at work, prepare to be embarrassed and/or chewed out.

Listen to the way your co-workers answer the phone. Do they provide their name? (“This is Meredith.”) Or do they use a more generic greeting? (“Ragan Communications—how may I help you?”) Have a pen and paper next to your phone at all times so you can take messages. Make sure you know your office phone number so you know what to say when someone asks for your contact information. Learn how to transfer, dial out of the building, etc. This may sound ridiculous, and that’s exactly why this is so important. Do you really want to be known as “The Intern Who Can’t Answer The Phone?”

2. Learn to multitask.

Maybe you’re a whiz at juggling research papers, midterms, and group projects, but multitasking at work is a different beast. You might like to spend three hours perfecting an article, but you also need to answer emails, schedule interviews, meet with co-workers and research potential story ideas—all before noon.

Before you start work each day, make a “to-do” list. What’s the first thing you need to do when you arrive at 9 a.m.? What’s the second (and so forth)? If you aren’t given a deadline for a particular story, ask your boss when they’d like to see your first draft. You may be hesitant to seek help (we’re all vying for the Omniscient Intern award), but better you should ask than drop the ball and cause everyone to fall behind.

3. Wordiness is not rewarded.

You might’ve gotten brownie points for using “panjandrum” in your college essay, but you can be sure it won’t make it past the first round of revisions. When writing for the Web, flowery language is not your friend. Concise, simple, and clear writing is. When writing copy, ask yourself, “Would the average reader have to look this up?” If the answer is yes, pick a different word or phrase. You’re not going to sound stupid if you swap “barmecidal” with “fake”; on the contrary, you’ll avoid the risk of sounding like a snob.

4. Bye-bye, body paragraph.

Your English professor might have encouraged (or demanded) a carefully crafted argument of five to seven sentences, but that technique is no good when writing for the Web. Eye Tracking Studies have shown that readers not only avoid long paragraphs, they’ll even skip the end of the article if you don’t keep them engaged.

Be concise. Get to the point.

5. Thought your grammar school days were behind you? You’re dead wrong.

Still not sure when to use “your” versus “you’re”? Stop what you’re doing, and take out your notebook (hint, hint). Including these mistakes in your writing samples (or worse, on your résumé) practically begs an editor not to hire you.

Learn when to use ellipses, semicolons, and em dashes. Know the difference between “affect” and “effect.” Editors know what they’re looking for, and their expectations are high. (See what I did there?) Your AP Style book should be within reach at all times. Not only will it help you become a grammar guru, it will guarantee instant admiration from your editor.

Total Internship Management Roadshow Coming in January

This blog was originally posted on Indiana INTERNnation:

Attend one of three nationally recognized recruiting seminars about successfully implementing internship programs to utilize affordable college talent.  Indiana INTERNnet has partnered with Intern Bridge to deliver the Indiana INTERNnet Total Internship Management Roadshow in the following locations:

January 18, 2011: Fort Wayne, IN
January 19, 2011: Indianapolis, IN
January 20, 2011: Evansville, IN

The workshops are designed to help employers build world-class internship programs that have a direct impact on your organization’s bottom line.  The workshops will introduce attendees to best practices for building a talent pipeline through the use of effectively managed internship programs.  Whether your organization is considering hiring one college student, or one hundred, these workshops will demonstrate how to do it creatively and efficiently.  Based on just-released data from over 100,000 students attending 500+ universities nationwide, the programs will provide key data and metrics surrounding topics such as supervisor selection, work structure, compensation, working with universities, legal issues and much more.

Intern Bridge is the nation’s leading college talent consulting and research firm.  Over 10,000 employers have participated in professional development events nationwide, a testament to the team’s ability to help employers build effective and meaningful college recruiting programs.  These recruiting strategies provide a unique opportunity to tap into an educated workforce at a fraction of the cost of a full-time or temporary employee.

Don’t miss out on your chance to participate in this nationally recognized program!  To learn more, visit the following location specific web sites:

January 18, 2011: Fort Wayne, IN – www.InternBridgePrograms.com/ftwayne
January 19, 2011: Indianapolis, IN – www.InternBridgePrograms.com/indy
January 20, 2011: Evansville, IN – www.InternBridgePrograms.com/evansville

We look forward to meeting you during one of the three stops on the roadshow.  Thank you for helping reduce Indiana’s “brain drain!”