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  • Developing Interns’ Skills Strengthens Their Bond to the Organization

    August 03, 2016 | By NACE Staff

    An employer works with a student intern to solve a problem.

    From the very beginning of PSEG’s internship program in 2007, professional development has been a top priority. Why?

    PSEG recognized that developing its interns’ skills makes them feel valued, and strengthens the bond between the organization and its interns. Plus, it’s important information for these students to know as they continue their job searches and enter the work force.

    “Developing interns helps us to convert and retain them,” explains Angela Parrinello, senior human resources specialist – campus relations, talent acquisition and diversity outreach at PSEG. “A lot of our employees have been here their entire careers.”

    That’s an important consideration because, as Parrinello points out, PSEG has an aging work force with a large number of employees who will be up for retirement in the next three years.

    “We see our internship program as a pipeline that allows us the opportunity to transfer knowledge to our interns and make sure we have the right people who join our team,” Parrinello says.

    New hires who are converted out of PSEG’s internship program and its professional development training have advantages. For example, these employees have the knowledge, skills, and connections they need to be productive earlier and they tend to move throughout the organization more quickly.

    The training sessions have their own curriculum, developed by Parrinello and her team. These sessions mostly cover soft skills, such as communication.

    “We teach them that communication is not always verbal,” Parrinello says. “Communication is also listening and actions. It’s important for them to know as professionals how to take and interpret the information that’s given to them.”

    The training includes interviewing skills for full-time positions and information about the STAR interview format used by PSEG.

    “The interview process for an intern is very different than that for a regular, full-time employee,” Parrinello says. “A lot of times, our interns participate in phone interviews, so we’ll help them prepare for what they can expect when interviewing for a full-time position. As a federal contractor, we have very strict rules and regulations about our format and style for interviews. We’ll walk them through that process and offer a demonstration. Our interns who have had that training will be better prepared for the STAR method.”

    Parrinello also mimicked the diversity and inclusion component of a required full-time employee training session for the intern orientation.

    “It is a combination of everything diversity and inclusion related to help students understand that diversity is not just something that you see,” she notes.

    As PSEG shows, the goal of providing professional development training to interns is to provide them with valuable information so they become candidates who are prepared for your interview process and have the skills to transition seamlessly into your work force.