Coach’s Playbook: The Internship Program Handbook

New England Construction Blog

Coach’s Playbook: The Internship Program Handbook

Amy Grenga, Director of Human Resources
June 07, 2016

How to Run a Successful Internship Program

To ensure a successful summer at NEC, we are running a robust internship program.  As their coach, it is important for me to see that process through.  Generally, our interns will work in the Operations Department and report to our Senior Project Engineer.  The overall goal is for the intern to gain experience in the office as well as on job sites.  The intern will be assigned a mentor in the office and a Superintendent in the field. To run a successful internship program, you will need to carry out the following plays:

Step 1: Starting the Season --- The Intern Recruitment Process

The first step of the internship is to find and “recruit” talented interns to join our team --- the Operations Department! We “scout” our interns through various avenues including career fairs held at colleges and universities, LinkedIn, referrals, and job postings.  However, we do most of our recruiting by building and “cultivating” relationships with higher education institutions that have the type of “players” we need --- Engineering and Construction Management majors.  Attending the semi-annual job fairs as well as using the college and university websites to post the internship program is where we “hit 线上德扑app官网home runs” in recruiting this talent.

Step 2: The Scouting Report --- The Intern Selection Process

At NEC, we developed selection criteria for candidates.  These factors include, but are not limited to academic performance, academic major, drive, professionalism, and computer proficiency.

After receiving the interns resume, we will schedule an in person interview.  During this interview, we look for the intern to present themselves in a professional manner and provide meaningful answers as to why they want to be a part of the internship program at NEC.  In addition, it’s important for the intern to support our “sweet spot” and have a degree in Construction Management, Civil Engineering, or a related field.  As much as we want the intern to be a good fit for our team, it’s important for our team to be a good fit for them as well.

Step 3: Spring Training --- The Internship Onboarding Preparation

We get our interns ready for “Spring Training” by developing an onboarding program for the first week.  We find this is critical to the success of the internship.  Overall, the goal of the onboarding program is to provide the intern with all the necessary skills to be successful on and off the field. 

The HR Manager and the Senior Project Engineer meet to develop and discuss the orientation.  We like for our interns to gain experience about the construction management process as a whole.  This is why we have the program be divided between the office and job sites.

Some of the items that come in an intern onboarding packet are as follows:
  • Orientation Schedule Days 1-5
    • This provides the intern with their orientation in a detailed format for the first five days. 
  • Internship Calendar
    • This provides the intern with a schedule at a glance regarding when they will be in the office vs. on the job site throughout the summer.
  • Intern Expectations
    • With any position, it’s important to have clear expectations.  For our internship program, we provide them with our expectations for the summer in a written format.
  • Intern To-Do List
    • Although they will be busy all summer, there are times when there the intern may have some down time during the internship and referring to this document will provide them with additional tasks.

Step 4: Players in Action

Throughout the internship program, the intern will play the full game.  Their experience will span the entire lifecycle of the construction management process --- from start to finish.  A day in the life of an intern in the office consists of attending the weekly Project Management Meeting, working with a Project Engineer on the submittal process, RFI’s, meeting minutes, material status reports, schedules, contact lists, safety, and much more! They will become familiar with systems such as Bluebeam, Timberline, and Plangrid as well. On the other hand, when the intern is onsite, they will attend weekly job site meetings including the Owner’s Meeting, the Subcontractor’s Meeting.  While on site, the goal is for the intern to gain constructability knowledge from the Superintendent.

As the coach of this process, it’s important for the HR Manager to stay in contact with the intern throughout the internship program.  It’s important to check in to confirm that they are receiving the appropriate guidance from their supervisor and mentor.

Step 5: Bringing 线上德扑app官网home the Win!

Before the interns head back to school, it’s important for us to recognize the intern’s growth and contributions to our company. We recognize the interns by having an end of summer BBQ to celebrate their time at NEC.

Step 6: Compiling Your Stats

From an HR perspective, it’s crucial to have an exit interview. During this interview, the VP of Operations and the HR Manager meet with the intern to discuss what the intern has accomplished over the summer, their strengths, weaknesses, as well as their plans for the future.

Overall, the goal of the internship program is to create a farm team for our company.  The goal is for the interns to return up to their senior year.  Our hope is to hire the intern at the end of their senior year.

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Topics: Intern Program