At 12 noon today, the 45th President of the United States of America was inaugurated. Regardless of what your thoughts are on the subject, we might all agree that as we look toward the future, our attention can’t help but be drawn to the next generation and what we can to do help clear their path. As business executives and owners, we are in a unique position to take action that helps the next generation as they prepare to enter the workforce.
There has been a highly publicized movement to promote the STEM fields: science, technology, engineering, and math. The U.S. Dept. of Labor has predicted that come 2018, there won’t be enough graduates to fill the 1.2 million job openings in STEM related fields. In fact, according to the statistics, only 16% of all degrees awarded by 2020 will be in STEM related fields.
While careers in the STEM fields have received a lot of airtime lately, there are hundreds of other career options for today’s youth, each requiring varying levels of training, education, and apprenticeship. Careers range from those in agriculture, to construction, the arts, business & finance, education, government & politics, health sciences, hospitality, law & public safety, manufacturing, marketing & sales, transportation, and more.
Those who own a business, regardless of the field, might consider encouraging and supporting our youth by offering internships to local high school students interested in entering their profession. Internships offer a young adult what is normally their very first inside look at a work environment, and therefore there is a bit of pressure to make sure that first experience is a positive one. Here are five (5) best practices that have proven successful while managing interns:
Share your knowledge by working more closely with your intern than you might another member of your professional staff. Promote your open door policy and confer daily.
Aside from mundane daily tasks, give your intern a stretch assignment that really allows him/her to showcase his/her potential. Set SMART goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.
Learn what your intern is passionate about and what motivates him/her, and assign projects that interest him/her accordingly.
Give your intern line-of-sight so that he/she understands how the work he/she is performing contributes to the success of a specific department plus the company as a whole.
Promote that your intern has joined the staff and help him/her network with other leaders in your industry.
During this time of transition, please remember that supporting today’s youth by offering an internship that nurtures their interests is a very specific and real action we can take to help the next generation succeed. Please contact us for more information as you consider adding an intern to your existing team in 2017.