Employing an intern is a popular practice, and can be done by almost any business or organization. Businesses who hire an intern gain someone who is either brand new or relatively new to a work environment, and is eager to learn and experience all that he or she can. By adding someone to the office with this mindset, everyone benefits. Everyone will have the opportunity to provide the intern with different experiences that would be attractive and beneficial for someone new to the work world, but may not be the most important thing on the employee’s list. For example, as an intern working for the Arlington Chamber of Commerce through the PRIME Program run by Arlington Public Schools, I was excited to helpdit articles and read over blog submissions; my coworkers, however, had more pressing matters at hand, and were happy to be able to check a task off of their to-do lists.
For teenagers, the world of desk jobs and office buildings is often a foreign one. The behind the scenes work of restaurants and shops is often shrouded in mystery. By offering the opportunity for some of these teenagers to intern with you, you are exposing them to another side of a world that they experience every day. Whether or not they know which direction they would like to head later in life, internships provide teenagers and young people with valuable information to use when figuring out where they would like to see themselves in the future. Perhaps an internship at a bakery solidifies a young man’s love for cooking and he applies to culinary school. Thanks to an internship, he was able to have a first hands experience that put him on a path that he wants to be on. Or, perhaps a young woman who is set on becoming a Senator interns on Capitol Hill and discovers that the world of politics is not a world that she wants to be a part of. This does not mean that the internship was unsuccessful; one of the first steps to finding what you want to do in life is figuring out what you don’t want to do. Deciding that you don’t want to be a lawyer in high school is a much better option than deciding that you don’t want to be a lawyer in your junior year of college.
Of course, the interns are not the only ones gaining something from the internship. By bringing in young people who are eager to work and ready to do what needs to be done, business owners and workers can focus less on the basic tasks that pile up on their to-do lists, and instead focus on the more important aspects of their job, like doing the things that they wanted to do when they first became a lawyer, or a baker, or an architect, or a doctor. However, the purpose of this internship should be to help complete tasks that were overwhelming one’s schedule rather than just a source of free labor; the purpose of an internship is for both parties to gain something. In addition, an intern provides a new point of view for the office; an intern’s inexperience is actually a plus here, because he or she can look at a product with a similar level of knowledge as the public or business partners or clients will, and give feedback that would not come from the rest of the staff.
In today's world, technology plays a huge role in business. Teenagers have grown up in the age of the internet, and it would be a challenging task to find a prospective intern who does not have a Facebook page, Twitter page, or smart phone that he or she can use to its fullest potential. In hiring an intern, a company has gained someone who most likely has, at the very least, a solid hold on social media and working with computers.
Finding young people to fill these internships won’t be difficult; the partnership between the Chamber of Commerce and Arlington Public Schools led to my internship, and the PRIME Program is always looking for Arlington and DC businessmen and women to serve as mentors to students. Hiring an intern does more than give a local teenager something to do over the summer or give businesses free labor; businesses gain a new mindset to add to their teams, one that would be difficult to find outside of high school kids, and young men and women are introduced to a world where they will one day work in a supportive and involved environment, giving them an important preview into their future.