This post originally appeared on the Louisiana Technology Park blog.
Internships are powerful tools to recruit, develop and retain the young talent necessary for companies to thrive over the long run — but internship programs must be structured in an intelligent way for them to valuable for both sides of the equation, a panel of experts told local business representatives at the Louisiana Technology Park.
The panel, which was part of a recent Tech Park Academy event, was led by Melissa Thompson, Baton Rouge Area Chamber’s director of talent development. Thompson outlined BRAC’s InternBR program, an initiative designed to provide student interns with leadership and communication skills needed in the workplace while also introducing them to all that Baton Rouge has to offer young professionals.
The six-week program takes place in June and July and features skills-development workshops, service and social events, as well as a graduation ceremony. “You find them and we refine them,” Thompson says.
She was joined by Amanda Hamilton, vice president and director of sales and marketing at Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., a Chicago-based insurance, risk management and consulting company with an office in Baton Rouge, and by Ashley Wolff, Gallagher’s early talent relationship manager for Southern regions. The company has a thriving internship program with more than 300 interns nationwide, including a handful in Baton Rouge.
The group held a lively discussion on the evolution of internship programs and offered best practices for creating environments where interns can thrive and grow into valuable members of a team. Here’s a recap of their advice.