Student Internships: A Win-Win-Win - Carolina Country
A message to members from David Reel, Vice President of Technology November 2020
A message to members from David Reel, Vice President of Technology
November 2020

"I am grateful to BCC and BEMC for giving me the opportunity to work as a Technology intern. The experience was incredibly helpful in developing my professional and technical skills.” Kali Mailhot, student intern recently hired by BEMC.

Employers often struggle with the decision to add interns into their already-busy work environments. There are questions of technical qualifications, on-the-job training, compensation, and scheduling. However, the positive impacts of an intern program can easily outweigh the challenges. BEMC put a value proposition to the test; that the increased use of college students as paid interns within our work environment would mutually benefit the students, the cooperative, and the community. The results of our intern program have been successful, providing valuable opportunities and partnerships.

An internship is a short-term opportunity for students to work at an organization where they can apply their academic knowledge to real-world tasks. It is a “learn and earn” situation that increases a college student’s future prospects. Internships offer participants a chance to work with professionals, learn new skills, discover hidden talents, boost their resume, and increase overall confidence. Their workplace experiences and contacts are often an advantage in job interviews and hiring. A 2019 survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers shows a 14% increase in job offers to graduating students who completed at least one internship.

Companies also benefit by utilizing interns. Eager students bring a fresh perspective, high energy, and new talents, methods and techniques that often challenge the status quo. They can reduce the workload of critical employees, temporarily fill position vacancies, or support seasonal increases in labor demands. Employers can also use internships as a recruiting tool to help fill entry-level positions, which has been the case for BEMC. In 2020, we hired two of our student interns into full-time positions in Engineering and Technology.

By partnering directly with colleges and universities, companies can more easily facilitate internships. This often assists students within the local community. For 2019-2020, Brunswick Community College supplied BEMC with three students to work as interns in Technology and Finance. In providing feedback, college president Dr. Gene Smith stated, “Brunswick Community College is very thankful for the ongoing partnership with BEMC and the new venture into providing workplace opportunities for our students to learn and grow. By working together through our Work-Based Learning courses, BEMC provides BCC students with the ability to explore potential careers, develop employability skills and perform work-related competencies. We are very excited to continue to collaborate with BEMC to not only assist our students with great career opportunities, but also provide our business partner with a qualified and skilled workforce.”

Employers and colleges should consider creating or expanding intern programs and partnerships, and students should be encouraged to actively pursue intern positions. Since internships create value for students, companies, and communities, it is a win-win-win situation.

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