PART III - Best Intern Programs Are Designed Around Classroom Experience
Similar to an Education Environment.
The best way adults learn is through a full experiential opportunity. That means the person's using more senses that include auditory, sight, kinetic, critical thinking, problem solving and creativity. These skills are vital to build a solid foundation when learning how to do tasks in the position.
A blended approach's best and actually what we all experience in our roles at work. One of the downsides of traditional education's the amount of time required to obtain a skill, which can last anywhere from 12-16 weeks in traditional academic institutions. Other profit schools offer a shorter time frame (5-10 weeks) to learn the subject material. However, there's no real opportunity to do more than the case studies.
The last two years of traditional education for most students includes an internship. For the most part that's a solid method to use to learn the basic concept of what a job entails.
Taking a blended approach takes time, planning, and skill to create a program typically by an individual with HRD skills. Remember an internship's viewed as an extension of the student’s educational experience and tied to the requirement to obtain educational credit.
This isn't the goal of a business employer. Their goals are about efficiency and sales. That's the bottom line for corporate clients and to some extent, nonprofits. At the end of the day, they're there to provide jobs that make our lives easier or fulfill a societal need.
An employer has to be cognizant that the student's there as student, not as a regular employee.
According to the DOL, the more the internship provides the individual with skills that can be used in multiple employment settings, as opposed to skills particular to one employer’s operation, the more likely the intern would be viewed as receiving training. Under these circumstances the intern does not perform the routine work of the business on a regular and recurring basis, and the business is not dependent upon the work of the intern.
On the other hand, if the interns are engaged in the operations of the employer or are performing productive work (for example, filing, performing other clerical work, or assisting customers), then the fact that they may be receiving some benefits in the form of a new skill or improved work habits will not exclude them from the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime requirements because the employer benefits from the intern's’ work.
It's best to consult with a person skilled in HRD and educational background to navigate the waters of creating a quality internship. Feel free to contact Isabella Johnston for a free consultation to find out more about creating a gold standard intern program for your business.