Cleveland Business Connects

For immediate release (October 6, 2017) Media Contact: Judy Abelman Email: Phone: 440.725.8861...



The internship landscape is competitive, both in terms of applicants and program selections. So, what makes an internship program successful for both students and the companies they serve? Here’s how five leading Northeast Ohio companies break through the noise:

Since 2003 Sherwin-Williams has offered a paid internship program targeted at college students. Students study in departments across the corporation, from engineering to human resources to operations and more. Internship applicants must be currently enrolled in school and pursuing an associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degree

“We created the program to attract and retain the best students in Northeast Ohio. We want them to know, as young professionals, that they can have a thriving professional career as well as a great social life while living and working in Cleveland,” Desireé Gwynn, recruitment specialist for Sherwin-Williams headquarters, says. To date, more than 1,300 interns have completed the program.

Interns at Sherwin-Williams are privileged with access to many of the same benefits full-time and part-time employees have, including a 10,000-square-foot onsite wellness center, a 401k/stock purchase and savings plan, a company-paid pension investment, and a company discount plan, she adds.

“Our goal is to create a strong brand awareness for the Greater Cleveland area,” Gwynn says. “(We want) to push the idea that Cleveland is a great place to live and work as a young professional, and Sherwin-Williams is a wonderful place to start and develop a long and healthy career path.”

Goodyear’s information technology internship program places a strong emphasis on professional development and meaningful mentorship.

It has grown from one intern to nearly 20 interns annually at the company’s Akron campus, Katie Heitman, business insights analyst for Goodyear, says.

“Goodyear places great importance on attracting, developing, motivating, and retaining the best team of associates. Through Goodyear’s IT internship program, young adults gain meaningful experience in information technology that will help them prepare for future career roles,” Heitman says.

Goodyear IT conducts shadow days with local high school students to teach students about IT careers within the company. Interns are typically full-time undergraduate students studying during the summer or fall. Since the program’s inception in 2009, approximately 75 interns have completed the program. To date, 17 of those interns have gone on to accept full-time employment offers with the company.

“From the time they are recruited to their arrival on Goodyear’s campus, interns receive personal attention. This includes a ‘buddy’ (a young IT professional), a mentor, a human resources coordinator, and the hiring manager,” Heitman says.

Although an internship program was in place for many years, in 2014 the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District revamped and re-launched its program, according to Jennifer Dalrymple, MBA, PHR, talent acquisition and employment specialist for the NEORSD.

“The resulting program is a strategic internship program designed to place student workers in positions specifically related to their academic fields of study (or long-term career goals),” Dalrymple says.

“The new program provides students with professional experiences throughout the entire organization.”
The program is structured around the organization’s four pillars: career exploration and professional development; organizational awareness; civic duty and community engagement; and global awareness and impact.

Paid internships at NEORSD span the organization, from administration to legal to finance to communications and more.

Between 60 and 80 interns are hired each year. All interns participate in the Ohio Public Employee Retirement System Program, and some are eligible for health benefits, Dalrymple says.

The program runs year-round, with independent assignments ranging from three months to three years. It allows students to gain additional training and education, to explore sample career paths, and it can aid in securing a full- or part-time role with the organization, she says.

Lincoln Electric’s paid internship program dates back 30-plus years and began as a way for students to gain real-world experience, Amy McMullen, college recruiter for Lincoln Electric, says.

“Students are better prepared to join companies after graduation if they have participated in a co-op/internship,” McMullen says. “We also believe that throughout the three- to six-month term, we, as the employer, are given adequate time to evaluate the students’ skill set and potential as a Lincoln Electric employee full-time after they graduate.”

The program spans departments across the company and targets students enrolled in a two- or four-year college and some individuals transitioning from undergraduate to graduate school. Typically 50 to 75 co-op/interns participate on an annual basis. The program runs year-round, and the company aims to hire about half of the co-ops/interns who are seniors as full-time employees each year. Because of the program’s rich history, a strong referral pipeline also helps bring in candidates, McMullen says.

What makes Lincoln Electric’s internship program stand out? McMullen says it
comes down to four main areas: hands-on experience, training, a unique company culture, and the opportunity to join the company in various roles after graduation.
“We have our co-ops/interns interact with some of our biggest customers and work on our most time-sensitive projects, and our co-ops/interns tell us they most enjoy the feeling of completing a project that makes a difference to the company,” she says.

Internships have been a staple at the Cleveland Clinic for decades. Today they span many departments within the system and are available to high school and college students, according to Jessica Miller, program manager II for the talent acquisition, human resources department at the Cleveland Clinic.

In 2012 Cleveland Clinic’s human resources division created the “student experience,” an initiative that has a dedicated team focused on attracting and identifying student talent through internships. One such experience
is the Case Western Reserve University Scholars Program, a partnership with CWRU’s Weatherhead School of Management. This experience provides an opportunity for students to learn alongside top professionals in healthcare and helps prepare them for the workforce, according to Miller.

At any given time, 50-plus students are taking part in a Cleveland Clinic internship. The Cleveland Clinic offers paid and unpaid opportunities as well as co-ops, fellowships, and shadowing experiences throughout the year, Miller says.

“Cleveland Clinic is committed to workforce development through internships. We do this through a collaboration with educational, corporate, and community partners,” she says. “As an organization, we realize it’s important to provide teaching opportunities that support our business.”

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