Employer Perspective: Q&A with Jay Visnjic

Jay Visnjic, Lead General Manager of Hampton Inn & Suites at Providence/Warwick-Airport, answers questions on internships.

Q. What is the best reason you host interns at your organization?

A. We want to contribute to the community. Many young people don’t get a proper guidance at home and at school. We mentor interns to learn new skills and get used to the corporate environment. The ultimate goal is to bring them one step close to being employable.

Q. What is the most challenging part of supervising interns?

We did not have any challenges. My management team believes in the program. All we had was a lot fun and opportunity to thing about improving young lives.

Q. Who do you think benefits the most from interns?

A. Our community, state and country benefit from youth being employed. Many thousands of youth throughout the country spend summers in safe working environment under adult supervision instead being out on the streets. Internship programs increase level of education, skill building and at the same time reduce the crime rate.

Q. How do you use internships as a recruiting tool?

I just hired another group of 6 youth interns. Some of them may become employed by us. The others may continue their education. Their loyalty to us may bring them back to us later in life. We are in it for a long term.

Q. What is the most challenging part of structuring an internship program?

A. Last summer we had 19 interns. Logistics were the biggest challenge. It is also time consuming to keep everyone productive. Youth interns can get playful sometimes, although it happened much less than originally anticipated.

Q. Do/Did you have a favorite intern? What about that person stuck out to you?

A. We hired three interns after the program was over. We liked many of our interns. They had to return to school, otherwise we would have hired more. Wonderful group.

Q. Do you pay your interns? Why or why not?

We did not pay our interns. They were paid thru government grants. Interns require a lot of supervising and guidance. In this age group interns are not as productive. If employers have to pay for interns there would be very few summer interns working in Rhode Island. The entire idea of offering internship is to educate youth, keep them off the streets, teach them new skill and open their mind to future education or employment. Government is doing an excellent job by providing internship grants.

Q. What are 3 words you would use to best describe interns?

A. Eager to learn. Respectful. Polite.

Q. What are the top three ways your organization benefits from interns?

A. 1) We do hire some of the interns. Our of 19 interns last summer we hired three. 2) Our management team learns to be better leaders and opens their mind towards the community. 3) Interns contribute to productivity, although it is minor comparing to the amount of organization and supervising involved.

Q. How did your internship program get started?

A. I learned all about internship programs by being member of Board of Workforce Partnership of Greater Rhode Island.

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About bridge.jobs

Bridge is a program that focuses on connecting employers and students in Rhode Island. The goal of Bridge is to match Rhode Island employers with talented students looking to gain valuable professional experience. Applying knowledge and skills acquired in college to a professional setting is a vital component of a student’s college education. Students who gain relevant internship experience are better prepared for full-time employment after graduation. By hiring interns, employers gain qualified, career-driven young professionals as employees. Student bring with them exposure to cutting edge practices and technology, new insights and philosophies, flexibility and a thirst for knowledge. bRIdge has a particular focus on connecting students and employers from specialized fields such as Business, Science, IT, Technology, Health, Design, Engineering and Manufacturing. The bRIdge website allows employers to post paid or unpaid internships online and directly reach out to a vast and talented pool of students. College students and recent graduates can sign up and start looking for an appropriate professional learning opportunity in minutes. bRIdge is a program of the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) and RISLA’s College Planning Center of Rhode Island. RISLA has joined up with Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Rhode Island (AICURI), the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education (RIBGHE) and the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce to bring together academia, business and community. If you have any questions about this program or if you need any assistance, please feel free to contact us.

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