Internships help students gain valuable work experiences
Central Bureau Chief
“It’s like the first day I came in and they had me image PCs. You learn this stuff in the classes when you take all the computer classes, but you know you have to put them to practice,” said Nodelin Previl, who is currently doing his internship in the IT program at BC.
“It is a great way to get your feet in the door to start your career. If you are very serious about your career, an internship is a great way to start,” said Shermone Mitchell, the Director for Workforce development at Broward College.
Broward College gives students opportunities to participate in the internship program. Through the VIP STUDENT REFERRAL PROGRAM, students have the chance to have a paid internship with companies that are looking for students to hire and gain real world experience. “Students are not required to do anything else,” said Mitchell. “It is just a paid internship with real job experience and earning a little money.”
Broward College makes sure that students have everything that they need; that’s why faculty are with students from the beginning to the end. “They are really helpful too. They are like if you don’t know how to do that, let me help you,” said Previl.
“If a student wants to join the VIP REFERRAL PROGRAM, we want them to register for our online job board, and upload a resume. We make sure that it is professional. We then conduct the mock interview, so students can be comfortable with interviewing. When companies contact us seeking an internship, we refer those students with an awesome resume,” said Mitchell. “We also reach out to companies for students and take advantage of contacts in their life. For example, if their parents work for a company, we reach out to those contacts by networking, asking if the company offers internships.”
Unlike the VIP STUDENT REFERRAL PROGRAM, the EDGE program is a college credit internship. “When I said college credit, it means that you are enrolled in an internship class. You work for an employee and you have faculty that is guiding you through the internship,” said Mitchell.
Students who want to participate in the EDGE program must have at least 24 college credits, a 2.0 GPA and be in good academic standing. “Remember it is a class. The employers and the faculty help you with learning outcomes. You are assigned a midterm and an end term project, and you receive a grade at the end of the internship,” said Mitchell.
Each student has a chance to get into an internship program, but students that are more aggressive, dependable and serious, are more likely to succeed. “We want students to be aggressive. We want them to be serious because when a company hires you, they want you to be there. We want you to be engaged, meaning that you ask questions to seek and see within an organization how they can benefit,” said Mitchell.
“To have a job, you have to have experience; and to have experience, you have to have a job,” said Phébus Coqmard, currently doing an internship with USDA in the agronomy department.
Most of the time companies want to hire students with experience, and most of the time students don’t have any relevant experience. Completing an internship is a great way to gain experience, know your career and meet with people in your field. “Honestly, it is better than I could have expected,” said Previl.
Getting into an internship program is not just about getting experience. “It is a way to help you make decisions for your future by asking yourself questions about what you really want to do,” said Mitchell.
“Internships are like a preparation to your career,” said Coqmard. “It might be in another area, but you still have some knowledge in this area. When companies see that you have those experiences in your portfolio, your chance to have a job right away multiply,” he said. “I will tell students to take advantage of the internship opportunities that are available. If you are serious about your career goal, it is a great way to start.”
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