As summer approaches, not only do we have warmer weather and longer days, we also have an influx of summer talent.
With recent graduations bringing former students back home to Wilmington or staying here while searching for work, there is a viable pool of candidates available to join the workforce.
It’s no secret that people want to stay local and call Wilmington home. However, the challenge posed for new graduates is whether they can actually find a job. While we are a small but mighty community, a common echoing theme in Wilmington seems to be lack of quality opportunities for the college-educated.
Whether it’s lack of jobs available for new graduates in their desired field or lack of currently vacant positions in businesses due budget constraints, there is a mutually beneficial solution available for all – internships. The days of internships being occupied by only currently enrolled college students have come and gone. College and high school graduates also use this opportunity to gain hands-on skills and build their resumes.
Interns Can Reinvigorate Your Business
The millennial generation has a unique zest for knowledge and a go-getter attitude that many seasoned employees do not have. Call it being naïve, a product of youth or just plain eager to jump start their careers, the result is all the same.
Millennial interns can bring a vibrant perspective to your business. Not only do they have knowledge fresh on the brain, they also tend to think outside the box and are very tech-savvy. They grew up with technologies and new ways of learning that most seasoned employees have never experienced. These things alone can create an opportunity that leads to new innovative solutions for your company.
At W.M. Jordan Company, we recognize the immense value internships can bring to your business. Starting 22 years ago, our formally structured summer internship program, averages about 22 interns a year. In our local office, we currently have four interns, as well as six former interns who have since been hired full-time.
These former interns have advanced with the company and now hold positions, such as vice president, project manager, superintendent and project engineer. As a former intern myself back in 1996 – and one who has held a number of different roles – I can see firsthand how internships add value to an intern’s future and a company’s business.
An Easy Solution To A Temporary Need
Summer is the time when employees want to take time off and, for some companies, the time when business picks up. In either of those scenarios, hiring an intern may work to your advantage. When you can give employees time off because they can delegate some of their workload, not only does the intern benefit from learning, but current employees at your business will stay happy, as well.
Additionally, while you may not have the budget or need for a full-time salaried employee, chances are an internship is a more feasible, lower-cost alternative. You never know – you may even have the need for one later or realize in the future that you can create a new role.
An Internship Is An Extended Interview Process
An internship provides a provisional period during which you really get to see if that person is the right fit for your company and that role. Investing a little time and a fraction of the cost into an intern is better than finding out three months down the road that a salaried employee you invested a lot of time and money in doesn’t have what it takes to make the cut. It also gives the intern an opportunity to see if the job is really what they thought it would be.
W.M. Jordan has strategically hired more than 26 interns over the past 22 years. By working with interns prior to hiring them full-time, we have been able to hand-pick top talent that is committed to a long-term career in the construction industry.
Valuable Brand Advocates For Your Business
Interns are going to talk. They will talk about their internship to their friends, future colleagues and other people in the community. Just as in the construction industry, many businesses rely on their reputation to help sell their services and continue to grow.
When you offer interns a valuable learning and work experience, it provides genuine and organic advertising for your business. However, you need to have a strategic plan in place, regarding the purpose and role of the internship. Not only will this benefit your business, it will also ensure the internship is mutually beneficial to both parties. This is imperative to ensuring your interns remain advocates for your company.
W.M. Jordan’s formal program is designed with real-world education and personal mentorship in mind. We give our interns an opportunity to experience all aspects of the business and rotate them through different roles to help them find their strengths and hopefully their passion. This process guarantees interns and managers get the most out of their summer experience together. It is also why our interns return to our program year after year.
Practice What You Preach
Just like we encourage people to buy local and support local businesses, the same is true for Wilmington and North Carolina talent. We don’t want to drive top talent away each year; we want to foster it and encourage them to stay.
While we utilize interns to enhance our regional office in Wilmington, some of our interns are also stationed throughout North Carolina, working on projects close to their own local communities. By keeping it local and equipping students with the real-world experience to succeed and grow, area businesses can succeed and grow, as well.
Rob Beale is Vice President at W. M. Jordan Company, leading the company’s efforts in the Carolinas region. W.M. Jordan Company provides construction management, design build, development, virtual construction, sustainability and contracting services to a diverse clientele.Rob opened the company’s Wilmington, NC office in 2012 with only five employees. Six years and two office expansions later, he has grown his staff to 34, with a regional revenue of $85 million in 2017. Rob started with W. M. Jordan Company in 1996 as the company’s first college intern. After earning a BS in Construction Management from Virginia Tech, his career at W.M. Jordan Company quickly accelerated, including nearly every aspect of construction service delivery. As a true believer in life-long learning, Rob continues to develop professionally and personally. He is currently completing an Executive Education Program for Leadership Development at Harvard University. Other past pursuits include the Disney Institute’s Leadership Excellence Program, FMI Construction Executive Institute’s Project Executive Course, and AGC of America’s Advanced Management Course. Rob is also on the Board of Directors for the Association of Builders and Contractors (ABC), Carolinas chapter and serves as a member of both the Board of Directors and the Fun Committee for Wilmington Downtown Inc. (WDI).