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Ann Arbor Spark

February 21, 2019

Internships — One of The Fastest and Least Expensive Ways to Stop the Leaks in Your Talent Pipeline

Throughout my work in talent at Ann Arbor SPARK and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, I have worked on a wide range of talent problems and solutions. I truly believe that for a region to successfully win the talent game, a multi-pronged strategy needs to be utilized. And, one of the most effective, affordable and immediate solutions for technical talent is a robust college internship strategy.

Thousands of STEM students at Michigan’s fine colleges and universities are looking to launch careers in Michigan, yet many get scooped up by out of state employers employing more aggressive internship programs. These interns often encounter “exploding offers” at the beginning of senior year, and many Michigan employers never even get a chance to interview them. When interns are lured out of state, Michigan loses touch with this rich talent resource.

There is also a rich pool of students studying outside of Michigan that would love to learn more about what Michigan employers have to offer through an internship. And, internships are a great win for employers – not only can you effectively and affordably grow your own talent pipeline (much more cost effective than poaching experienced technical talent which often involves paying premium prices and hefty recruiting fees), you also gain the benefit of higher overall retention rates.

So, why don’t more employers use internships as a tool?

Perhaps, it’s due to the myths that surround internships, such as:

Myth 1: My intern won’t join my firm after graduation — I am just wasting my time. 

Response: In reality, the overall conversion rate for interns is above 50%. This is an excellent investment of time, with strong potential for a long-term return.

Myth 2: Finding interns is hard. 

Response: Actually, it does not need to be. College and university career centers want to partner with you and have many ways for your organization to reach their students — such as job posting services, career fairs, student project teams, guest speaking appearances and more!

Myth 3: The social needs of interns are hard to decipher. How can we figure this out?

Response: Easy! There are many great resources to help employers with the social side of intern life. Ann Arbor SPARK, Hello West Michigan, Lansing 501, and After 5 Detroit are local organizations that offer incredible programs that help interns get connected to each other, and to the community.

Guest blog by Amy Cell, Talent Guru and Founder of Amy Cell Talent — Your passionate people partner.