This year is the first time in history that open jobs have surpassed the number of available people to fill them. This phenomenon has been predicted since early 2000, so no one should be surprised. Luckily there are things that your organization can do to hire and develop your future workforce.
You might not realize your future workforce is right under your nose! If you happen to live in Dallas, TX there are some local non-profits and local businesses, developing young workers to be business ready, post high school. If you live in South Carolina, Colorado or Rhode Island these states have developed various programs to retool and re-skill their current workforce for new jobs. These states have also developed apprenticeships and other kinds of internships that are helping companies fill their employment gaps.
I had the pleasure of working with Foundation for CHOICE (FFC) this past year on a project to develop an internship program for the Juniors and Seniors of Dallas Independent School District who are mentored by FFC business partners. FFC business partners are individuals who work in various businesses and mentor a high school Junior or Senior for the school year.
The interesting thing about the FFC Mentoring program is the 27-week patented program developed by Jessica Bartnick, FFC’s Executive Director. Each week the business mentor meets with their mentee. During these meetings, they cover a range of topics such as discussing post high school options for 2-year college, 4-year college or apprenticeship programs, helping students navigate applying for student aide and developing a business project that is then presented to several business leaders at a local company.
One healthcare company (Vizient) decided to take on several of the FFC mentees during the summer of 2017. It was the first time this company had an Internship Program. Because Vizient is in the healthcare industry there were a lot of considerations to sort through. These included determining the department in which these interns could work where HIPPA regulations would not be violated, whether to give the interns an email address at the company and how to ensure the interns had a good experience and the company had one as well. This organization took it several steps further.
The high schools that FFC works with have most students below U.S. poverty levels, and a lot of students do not have their own transportation. Vizient provided transportation to pick the students up at their local high school then return them after their workday. Some of the high school students also did not have the ability to pay for lunches, so Vizient provided each intern with daily lunch vouchers to be used at the cafeteria in their building.
Vizient rotated the interns as a group through 9 different departments for each week of the summer. They called the program Vizient PACE Program which stands for Personal Advancement and Career Enhancement. They always referred to the interns as ‘Pacers’, and their summer project was to work within the departments to solve a real-world problem which was Clinical Intervention on food security in North Texas. As they rotated through the departments they were challenged to think about solutions differently and the Innovation group at Vizient even helped the students develop an app about healthy eating locations. The students realized that there is never a single solution for a problem.
This past May, Vizient hosted a graduation for the interns. I attended, and it was fun to see the interns and employees having such a great time. I had met a few of the interns in the Fall of 2017, and the difference in their confidence and communication abilities within a year was quite evident. Even though I had no hand in working with the interns or the company, I felt proud to see these young people gain these small successes that I know will stay with them throughout their lifetime.
Now I bet you are wondering how you can develop your own Internship program for positive impact in the community, the interns and your company. I’ll address how to develop an impactful Internship Program in the next post. You can always contact us directly for additional help.