Building a Vibrant Community

There is real value of internships to a community. Many students around the world opt for internships before they formally begin working full-time. Internships are often managed with studies or during breaks between semesters or terms.

Internships can be paid or unpaid depending on the nature of the job and the company or organization. While interns gain benefits by working with professionals in a formal environment, workplaces and communities also benefit from hiring interns. There are many reasons why and how internships can be beneficial for a city and a business. These include:

Finding Future Employees and Creating a Recruiting Pipeline: If a company hires interns, there is a high chance that the students might also be potential future employees. Supporting student interns provide companies the opportunity to teach community-specific skills, such as civic engagement, and learn more about the future workforce. Having this preview can aid companies when hiring for full-time positions. Supporting student internships also provides a unique opportunity to capture the attention of a young trainable workforce, providing communities a vibrant pipeline of employees.

Quint Studer — the author of “Building a Vibrant Community” — points out that young people are “the most valuable asset when building a vibrant community,” and communities that support internships are stocking the fire of vibrancy.

Transforming your Story by Transforming Your Brand: Supporting student internships can transform a community story and transform a business brand. “When a student has a great experience with their internship employer, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more powerful evangelist!” says Chad Barker, Communications and Marketing Specialist for the Office of Professional Practice at Purdue University. To do this effectively, employers are creating internship experiences that align with their company brand. Fueled by input from actual participants, these programs are evolving into more enriching experiences that create actual brand ambassadors. What then would be the effects of an internship experience that aligns with community goals? The result has been the same, community brand ambassadors. With this in mind, the Randolph County Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with D&E’s Vice President for Enrollment Management, launched the Summers Highland Internship Program last summer. Providing students and residents with vibrant internship opportunities can transform the story of this county from a small regional hub to the center of commerce in eastern West Virginia.

Fresh Perspectives: Student interns inject energy into an office setting, bringing creativity and enthusiasm that tenured employees may lack?and it’s contagious. Read what the CEO of SOL Marketing had to say about their interns “Our interns are members of Generation Z, which gives leadership a glimpse into this important cohort, aged 6 to 21, who will soon become primary purchase influencers and decision-makers. I feel like they give us an edge in designing research and strategy projects for clients who pursue branding and marketing programs targeting this audience,” interns creativity and fresh perspective can give our community and businesses that competitive edge.

Social Media Marketing and New Audiences: Interns are often up to date with the latest technology and tools; they can benefit a company by helping them reach larger audiences through social media, allowing the brand to reach larger audiences while coming up with creative marketing strategies. Communities that are inviting and open about their support of students tend to have students advertising their recreational and shopping amenities utilizing these diverse forms of social media, often encouraging new foot traffic through your community.

If you were ever thinking about hiring an intern, don’t wait. Growing and expanding your business with the help of interns supports not only your business but also your community.

This article is based on ideas from “Building a Vibrant Community” by Quint Studer. Compliments of Tygart Valley Orthopedics, the Elkins-Randolph County Chamber has free copies of the book available to those who are interested. For more information, or to join the Vibrant Community initiative, contact the Chamber at chamber@erccc.com or 304.636.2717.


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