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  • Engagement the Foundation of CSRA’s Internship Program

    February 22, 2017 | By NACE Staff

    Internships
    A vice president meets with an intern to discuss his career goals.

    TAGS: internships, spotlight, mentoring

    Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals

    One of the primary drivers of the success of CSRA’s internship program is ongoing engagement—both when interns are on site and when they return to campus—according to Amanda Wolf, CSRA university relations, internship program lead.

    “It’s important to involve your interns as much as possible—with one another, with management, and with the recruitment team,” Wolf says.

    CSRA provides IT solutions and professional services to government agencies and programs. During its 10-week summer internship program, interns work alongside managers and colleagues.

    “We offer interns a chance to experience life as a CSRA employee firsthand,” Wolf says. “Our interns have real responsibilities.”

    The program features an educational speaker series, during which interns hear from company leaders on a variety of topics related to CSRA’s lines of business and industry.

    “Our intern networking events provide an opportunity for interns to mingle with our CEO, VPs, and other managers,” Wolf notes. “We also have an energetic mentoring program that connects interns with colleagues in CSRA’s Young Professionals group so they can build strong bonds, get career advice, and learn more about our company.”

    In addition, the company is also active in the communities in which its employees live and serve. Interns are encouraged to get involved through the company’s many options to volunteer.

    “We work hard, but we also have fun,” she says. “Last summer, we gave our interns [fitness trackers] so they could compete against one another, our CEO, and managers. They also participate in fun activities, such as kickball competitions against our competitors.”

    When interns return to campus for the academic year, CSRA maintains ties and stays top of mind through gestures such as wishing individual interns good luck on finals, reaching out around the holidays, and keeping interns informed about when company recruiters will be on campus.

    “We also encourage our interns to act as CSRA ambassadors on campus throughout the school year, to spread the word about the program and our company,” Wolf says. “Even if they choose not to come back to us the following summer, we still want to stay in touch with interns and wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors.”

    Another key element of CSRA’s internship program is its focus on recruiting and hiring candidates who fit the profile of successful employees.

    “We look for strong academic performance, technical skills that are top notch in the IT world, and strong character,” Wolf explains. “We need interns who fit CSRA’s culture of success, but we also look for creativity as well—because at CSRA, the best ideas win.”

    The company measures the success of its internship program by its conversion rate.

    “We strive to convert about 50 to 60 percent of our graduating interns to professional positions in our company, and hope to increase that number yearly,” Wolf notes. “We also work to bring back our undergraduate interns year after year until they graduate, and hopefully they will then come on board with us full time.”

    These hires are better prepared for the work they will be doing and to acclimate into the CSRA culture, leading to a higher retention rate.

    “Interns provide a great deal to us in return,” Wolf says. “Colleagues who worked with interns during our summer program have shared how much they learned from working with the interns, and cited the interns’ fresh perspective, different viewpoints, youthful energy, hunger to learn, and more.”