Q&A with 3 Rhode Island Employers using Interns

Jim Lavoie, CEO of Rite-Solutions, Robert Hughes, Plant Manager of Hayward Industries, and Bill Jones, President of Warren Rogers Associates, Inc. (WRA) give us their views on hosting interns.

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

“To expose them to a different kind of company.” – Jim Lavoie

“Our business relies upon large scale multi-year agreements.  With a pool of trained interns, we are able to accommodate these upticks in business by turning to skilled interns who will soon be graduating and seeking full-time employment.” – Bill Jones

“To accomplish specific tasks in numerous areas of the facility.” – Robert Hughes

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

“Allows our experienced employees to concentrate more on higher level objectives. Aides in getting tasks done quicker. Gives us different perspectives on how to solve problems.” – Robert Hughes

“To handle surges in business. To determine if WRA and an intern are a good fit for long term employment. To enable WRA to gain the advantage of the technical skills and understanding of the interns.” – Bill Jones

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

“Long term interns create scheduling issues as their availability changes with each semester. Summer interns do not pose this issue.” – Robert Hughes

Q.  Have you had a favorite intern?

“We have had three exceptional interns from URI engineering that were well educated, highly motivated and quick learners.” – Robert Hughes

“Ye, two. Initiative [impressed up most] – They both got a Security + certification during their internship.” – Jim Lavoie

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

“Yes from $16-$19 per hour depending on the year of schooling they are in.” – Robert Hughes

“Yes – To make them feel relevant to the company.” – Jim Lavoie

“WRA has always hosted interns who are paid because they have added value and revenue to the company.” – Bill Jones

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

“If done correctly, the intern benefits the most, but the organization has seen a benefit as well.” – Jim Lavoie

“The interns, as they get valuable experience in an actual work environment.” – Robert Hughes

Q. How did your internship program get started?

“Forecasting a demand for Information Assurance industry growth.” – Jim Lavoie

“In 2009, WRA undertook a large scale project for configuring and installing industrial computers at retail petroleum outlets.  We hosted interns to assist us with this surge deployment under tight deadlines and they enabled us to complete the project successfully.” – Bill Jones

“We started hiring summer interns from employees’ children.” – Robert Hughes

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

“If we encounter a student that has the skill set we are looking for, we often host them as interns so that we can see how they perform and to gauge their level of interest in our company. We have four former interns on staff that are now full time employees. This week we began hosting an intern with notable analytical and SAS software skills under the auspices Rhode Island Work Immersion Program.” – Bill Jones

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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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