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  • County “toolkit” helps employers manage interns

    Feb 13, 2015 | Read More News
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    Pima County One-Stop Career Center presented materials that will assist employers in hiring and managing interns to members of the Workforce Investment Board at its Feb. 13 meeting.

    Machinist internThe “Internships 101 Toolkit” contains advice on selecting, supporting and evaluating interns and includes interviews with interns and industry representatives and focus group feedback. LeadLocal who had been contracted by the One-Stop, working with several private sector employers and the education community, developed the materials for the toolkit. 

    “Many companies are willing to take on interns but struggle with how to manage and mentor them. Developing value-added internships requires time and capital investment that many businesses – especially smaller firms – do not have,” said Jim Mize, manager of business services for Pima County One-Stop.

    Specifically, the toolkit offers advice on selecting interns, noting that motivation, communication skills and willingness to learn are far more important than technical experience; identifying a supervisor and focus area before selecting the intern, though specific projects should be refined after the intern is chosen; and evaluating interns, by creating a clear feedback loop between the intern and employer.

    The internship toolkit was developed in the summer of 2014. Seven companies took on nine interns for a minimum of five weeks. One-Stop, LeadLocal and Tucson Youth Development (an agency serving Pima County youth age 14-21) managed the intern selection process, offered an internship development workshop to employers, managed evaluation and reflection tools and provided intern support staff to conduct weekly intern check-ins. For the first five weeks of the internship, the interns’ salaries were covered by the One-Stop.

    Employers said the tools provided by the One-Stop were very helpful. They suggested, however, that One-Stop offer “train the trainer” workshops and place the toolkit online. It will be available on the County’s website after Feb. 18.