A Taste of Talent Development: Interesting Internships

To support a workforce that satisfies employer demand and to position the Baton Rouge Area favorably for economic growth, BRAC executes a variety of initiatives to cultivate the region’s talent. The talent development program focuses on two aspects – recruitment and retention of talented professionals in the nine-parish regionSpringtime on a college campus means hundreds of students are rushing to find the perfect summer internship. This time of year also means employers might be scrambling to create and recruit for their own internship. Whether you’re starting from scratch or expanding your already robust internship program, we’ve pulled together a few best practices that might make this summer your most successful yet.  


Does it have to be just for the summer? 
Internships take many different forms. Some employers prefer a semester or summer-long internship. And some prefer a year-long internship since it can sometimes take a while to onboard a team member. 

A new kind of internship, a micro-internship, runs the course of a project or event. This could be mutually beneficial for students and employers since it would provide a concentrated experience for the student, but not be as costly or time intensive for the employer. Micro-internships can also be completed remotely.  

Should we pay them? 
Short answer: yes. Longer answer: Paying young professional talent helps grow our economy and provide better and more meaningful connections to the next generation of your employees. If you absolutely can’t afford to pay them, consider creating a micro-internship (see above) or at the very least, offer to help them earn course credit for the work. 

They can’t communicate.
Stop us if you’ve heard this before…but with our growing reliance on technology, sometimes our interpersonal communication (soft skills) aren’t as developed as they could be. The mentorship and feedback parts of an internship are critical for not only the success of the internship, but also for the student’s future employment.  

If you’re looking for a professional development opportunity specifically for your interns, nominate them for BRAC’s InternBR program (applications open April 1). The summer program provides training on leadership and communication skills, as well as service and social opportunities to connect young professionals to Baton Rouge.  

It takes too much time/money/effort to train them.
Think about an internship this way – it is essentially a really long interview and orientation process. As an employer, you get the opportunity to train future employees to fit perfectly into your company’s culture. While the investment on the front end during their internship might be great, they might also end up being your best employee when they graduate.  

Don’t forget to sell yourself.
Time and time again, we hear young professionals talk about wanting a job where they can make a difference while earning a paycheck. And often young professionals are willing to take a smaller paycheck if the work they do makes a difference. Young professionals care much more about the experience. So, when recruiting talent, sell your internship, job or company in that same way. On the job description, make sure you provide information about the company’s culture, professional development opportunities, team outings and other things that will sell the experience of working on your team. And don’t forget to sell Baton Rouge! Our vibrant, diverse community is a selling point for the millennial generation. For tips on community messaging, visit brac.org/brtoolkit 

BRAC is an investor-driven organization leading economic development in the nine-parish Baton Rouge Area. One of BRAC’s strategic goals is to cultivate the region’s talent to meet workforce demands and each month we highlight one of our talent development initiatives. To learn more about our talent development strategies and resources, contact our director of talent development. 

Melissa Thompson

Melissa leads all aspects of BRAC’s talent development program, including talent attraction and orientation. She works in partnership with employers to provide services that complement existing human resources recruitment practices.

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