Internship programs are part of Career Development Education (CDE). These experiences help create a talent pipeline between the newest generation of workers and the employers who will hire them. Getting involved is simple. Hire an intern.
Both parties benefit from this relationship. The intern gains invaluable workplace experience through full Career Immersion. The employer receives a new perspective and fresh, young talent for their team, while simultaneously building their community and strengthening future workers. PSW sat down with Brian Geisel of Geisel Software to chat about his experience with a summer high school intern.
What was your initial hesitation about interns?
“I had some reservations that we would hire an intern and all my time would be spent managing or teaching them. For us, the cost wasn’t the biggest issue, but it was certainly something we thought about.” Brian quickly learned that he could rely on his intern, Natalie, as much as his full-time employees, and she did not need to be micro-managed.
What did you get out of the internship experience?
“The rewards of having done it was enough in itself. Seeing somebody whose life you have a small influence over, being able to see the results in their life, is genuinely fulfilling. There are instant benefits as well. We found an intern who was far above what you would normally expect from a high school student and she made an immediate impact on the company. Natalie worked on a couple of client projects. She was capable of making real contributions that are available to the world today as software. She wrote code, designed interfaces, and shaped presentations for projects.” On one project, designing an interface for an app that would help young children learn programming, clients from Harvard had a specific interest in Natalie’s design and the unique perspective she brought to meetings.
According to Geisel, it’s not only about the ‘now’. “It’s a long-term investment in our youth. Eventually they will be the people we hire full-time. We are competing with Google, and Amazon, etc. How do we do that? We do that with an awesome internship program that truly involves them with a potential future career.” By creating a presence in the community and engaging early on with tomorrow’s workforce, Geisel Software will stand out amongst today’s corporate powerhouses as a progressive and community-invested company.
What would you say to other companies to encourage them to get involved?
“You need to do it, not only from the perspective of benefits, but from the impact that you can make on young lives and your community. For us, hiring an intern was such an easy thing to do, especially working with PSW. I don’t see any way you can hire an intern and not have a benefit from the experience.”
How did Natalie benefit from the experience?
“We saw tremendous growth in Natalie over those three years, especially in soft skills. When she started she already had a great head start in technology, but it was somewhat limited in scope. Natalie was able to learn many different facets of the industry and add to them her existing technical knowledge. She also improved her abilities to communicate and work collaboratively on projects, as well as her capability to voice her opinion when she saw something that could be improved or handled better.”
With several years of work experience and a recommendation from Brian, Natalie went on to get herself another internship, this one with Adobe Systems.