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Internships Are Key To Building Talent Pipeline



A July 2018 opinion column in Crain's ("Personal view: Colleges, employers must help young adults enter job market") highlighted the despair that many parents feel when their about-to-graduate college student just can't find a job. The author Tricia Kuivinen called upon colleges and employers to do more to help prepare successful students for the job market, through more robust internship and training programs.

At the Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education (NOCHE), we couldn't agree more. As a collaboration of businesses, industry and higher education leaders, we are focused on strengthening internship programs and providing the talent pool that employers need to grow their businesses and reduce recruitment costs.

recently published survey of regional employers found that internships can build and sustain a strong and competitive workforce. Having a supply of interns familiar with an organization provides an easy and affordable way to strengthen a company. Interns are often hired immediately after graduation, eliminating the cost of recruiting and training new employees.

The findings of the survey, conducted by NOCHE in partnership with the Employers Resource Council (ERC), reflect the experiences of more than 100 organizations and reinforce the importance of internship programs and ongoing relationships between employers and universities in providing seamless access to a talent pipeline.

Many organizations don't have formal internship programs because they believe it's too much work to sustain them. But there are many resources available in the market to help them. For example, NOCHE provides a matching platform for recruiting interns and job candidates, and offers internship training workshops and online courses for employers.

The survey can also help employers learn about current rates of pay for interns and recent graduates in various fields, how to use performance evaluations, and the kinds of projects interns are often assigned. Interestingly, the ERC/NOCHE survey also found that many employers use prior internship experience as a hiring criteria with the same frequency as they use work experience that is not internship based. Even if the new hire did not intern with them previously, the fact that he/she had internship experience somewhere is considered an asset for a new employee and the company.

We urge employers that do not have internship programs to contact NOCHE to see how they can benefit from internships in the short and long run. Test-drive potential employees before hiring full-time. Cultivate a talent pipeline of highly trained future hires. Maximize recruiting dollars.

Sixty-one percent of the employers surveyed have hired or plan to hire new college graduates this year, and most of the new graduates are coming into the local employment market from Northeast Ohio colleges and universities. As we continue to expand internship opportunities, more parents like Tricia Kuivinen will be able to breathe a little easier when their new graduate crosses the stage, accepts a diploma, and steps into a productive and rewarding job.

Holly Harris Bane is the president of the Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education in Independence.

View this article in Crain's Cleveland Business: 



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