The Importance of Internships for Employers and Students
For the first five months of 2022, I have been a Supply Chain Intern with ASCI LLC. During that time I have come to believe that internships are an important opportunity for both the intern as well as the company. In a departure from my previous blogs, I would like to take this final opportunity to explain how businesses that offer internships help themselves and new career seekers finishing college.
It is not only the intern who may benefit from time with a company. The business itself can find a return on investment.
By offering internships in the local colleges, a company can interact with the freshest and brightest, or in my case the still-not-past-the-sell-by-date, that will soon be entering the job market. These individuals can bring enthusiasm and fresh perspectives into an office that may be stuck in the daily grind.
Once the internship is complete, many interns may prefer to continue working with the company because they already know the people and procedures. The offer of an internship can create loyalty because it shows the company is willing to offer new workers a chance.
Many companies have a worker pool that is relatively static, and unless those employees are constantly upgrading their skill sets, much of the collective knowledge available to the company may be outdated. Interns who may be lacking in practical experience are coming from colleges that are teaching the newest theories and ideas, and a company can tap into that new knowledge to modernize their thinking and stay relevant in today’s markets.
Lower Cost Labor
From a financial perspective, hiring an intern can be a good way to boost productivity for lower costs. Much of the work an intern does for a company is repetitive and mundane. This benefits the company as it frees up their employees for more critical tasks, while it benefits the intern by giving them the experience of the daily functions of a company. Savvy companies can even hire interns during peak seasons to bolster manpower.
Granting internships to the local college is a great way of being active in the community and giving back. While hosting an intern does require dedicating a full-time employee to training and oversight, the connections with the local college and good will associated with that connection more than make up for the costs.
Below are just some of the benefits a college student can gain from an internship. There are many more, including confidence, pride, and soft skill development such as time management, netiquette, and self-discipline.
Perhaps one of the biggest benefits, at least to me, was the ability to network in my new field. I wanted to meet people who have been in the industry and have contacts with companies around town that could provide a possible career after graduation.
Real World Experience
As an older college student, I found changing careers to be a daunting task. I have previous experience working in logistics and with supply chains, but my skills were a bit rusty. My time with ASCI allowed me to see how much the business world has changed and how it operates today.
One of the main duties during my internship was to write blogs for ASCIs website. During my research, I discovered the basic knowledge provided by my degree was applied in more advanced ways in the industry, and I was able to learn and understand the cutting-edge technologies being created and the uses for that technology.
Let’s be honest, how many people study like crazy before an exam and then “brain dump” all that study afterward? How much of that information is retained? During my relatively short time with ASCI, I found myself dredging up information from classes I had dumped because I didn’t believe that information would prove relevant. Who would have known it, but the stuff they are teaching in college is useful!
Even with the classes I knew would be practical, I found the application of that information helped me retain and transform the coursework from knowledge to wisdom. By seeing the theories and formulas in action, I felt I was able to grasp the concepts better and apply them in a more confident manner.
WHAT AN INTERNSHIP MEANT TO ME
An internship was a requirement for my degree, and one I kind of dreaded. The coronavirus pandemic broke out during the spring semester of my sophomore year, and the world shut down. As I was closing in on my final semester in college I still hadn’t been able to find an internship. ASCI, who has a long history of working with the students at UAA, came along and gave me the opportunity to learn from them. I am truly grateful for the mentoring, the training, and the friendship they offered.
I used to think internships were simply a way for companies to get someone to do the boring work. After having completed one I now see there is a whole range of benefits for the company and the individual. I would highly recommend more companies offer new students the opportunity to learn from them, and I would recommend that student jump at the opportunity to take the information from your books and turn it into practical experience.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jason Kelly recently completed an internship with ASCI. He graduated from the University of Alaska Anchorage with a bachelor’s degree in Global Logistics Supply Chain Management and a minor in Computer Information Systems. He also received an Occupational Endorsement Certificate in Business Analytics. His experience in logistics lies in oilfield supply, inventory consignments, and air cargo shipping, and thanks to this internship opportunity, governmental contracts and blog writing.