Welcome to the Real World
As an intern at Brown Daub Dealerships, Northampton Community College (NCC) marketing major Alexa Rossi was given charge of all marketing responsibilities for the Fiat brand. She took pictures of inventory and put these products on the website and created flyers and brochures for promoting the brand at events such as Celtic and Blueberry festivals, and the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Big Time Celebration in Roseto. She also attended the events to answer visitors' questions. "I recommend internships to my friends," she said. "I improved my communication skills and gained so much hands-on experience that has helped me gain confidence in my creativity," she said. After Rossi graduated from NCC, Brown Daub hired her as their marketing manager for the Alfa Romeo Fiat.
"The purpose of an internship is to provide an official or formal program for students so that they can gain practical experience in an occupation or profession," says Janice Kenyatta, experiential learning/internship manager at NCC. "Providing opportunities for experiential learning-a strategic priority for the College-is valuable because it gives students experience in a real workplace environment and the chance to make connections in their chosen career paths, avenues that could then lead to employment."
Some college programs, such as legal, medical and office administrative assistant; architecture; automotive technology; hospitality, hotel/restaurant management; HVAC.; paralegal; early childhood education; electromechanical; technology; and electrical technology require an internship. But Kenyatta also helps find placements for students in programs without embedded internships.
How are students matched with internships? There are two ways. 1.) Kenyatta sends a complete profile of an internship opportunity to faculty members in the relevant content field and asks them to recommend a qualified and interested student who they think would be a good match/fit for the internship. The faculty member then asks the student to contact Kenyatta in the Internship Office to set up an appointment to discuss whether the student's goals and interests make him or her a good candidate for that position. 2.) Students seeking internships may also schedule appointments with Kenyatta on their own initiative.
Durations of an internship vary, for up to 2 semesters, depending on the need of the employer. Interns spend anywhere from a total of 10 - 150 hours at their job.
Kenyatta encourages employers to pay their interns. Out of 30 interns placed since the Internship Office started in 2013, only three interns have taken unpaid positions.
Kenyatta stays in touch with the interns to check their progress and collect daily time sheets.
Some interns write to Kenyatta after their graduations. Amanda Steinke, a computer assisted design graduate, wrote that her internship "wasn't just about getting a job, but about the opportunity to learn from people that have been doing what I am trying to do; about not only expanding my knowledge but gaining experience and confidence. Without you, I wouldn't have known where to start looking." Upon graduation, her place of internship, Harsco Industrial Patterson, hired her as a senior drafter.
Jordan Knighton, a communications studies major, interned at the Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union (PSECU) on the NCC Bethlehem Campus, where he educated students, faculty and staff about PSECU's services, including financial literacy, managing money, and earning and saving it. He set up tables throughout the campus to promote the credit union.
"I learned about how to continue to work with individuals and groups of people. The internship showed me a whole new avenue to communicate effectively based on different personalities and attitudes. Also, I personally learned better ways to become more detail oriented by looking over, checking and paying attention to important paper work." Knighton feels that this experience will come in handy as he pursues his goal of transferring to a four-year college to prepare to be a sports broadcaster for ESPN or a motivational speaker who inspires others.
Corinne Gray, a computer assisted design major, interned at Victaulic, which assigned her a project of her own: drawing a set of parts, fittings for lead-free pipes-for use on the company's website.
McKenna O'Rourke, a communication design major, interned at sports center Pocono Dome.
Other places where NCC students have interned include:
Warren County Prosecutor's Office
Northampton County Juvenile Center
Building on the success of the internship program, Kenyatta is developing more job shadowing opportunities and reaching out to a wider network of employers.
To schedule an appointment with Kenyatta, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 610-861-5343. To find out more about the program, visit http://www.northampton.edu/campus-life-and-housing/student-services/career-services.htm.