Wild About Workforce Development

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Janet Boston Janet Boston

“Being wild is having the courage to bring the gift of all of who you are to all of what you do,” says Chris Heeter.

On February 7, Heeter, award-winning speaker and founder of The Wild Institute, provided an energizing keynote for the nearly 400 attendees at Indiana INTERNnet’s 12th annual IMPACT Awards Luncheon with the theme “Wild About Workforce Development.” The luncheon celebrates interns, career development professionals and employers striving for internship excellence.

Heeter explained how important it is to work as a team to be successful and how “we need our leaders to go the same direction around obstacles.” She also shared relatable anecdotes from her sled dog team and experience as a whitewater trip guide.

The Indiana INTERNnet team looks forward to the IMPACT Awards luncheon every year, because it’s an opportunity to celebrate the significance of internships and spotlight accomplishments throughout the state. Six winners were announced in the categories of Career Development Professional of the Year, Employer of the Year (Non-Profit and For-Profit), and Intern of the Year (College, High School and Non-Traditional).

Career Development Professional of the Year
Nathan Milner with Indiana Wesleyan University has shown great strides in his first year as internship coordinator. Before his transition to career development, he was the university's resident director for 10 years. One of his early accomplishments was facilitating a program funded by Lilly Endowment, Inc. that provides wages for up to 20 students interning at start-up companies each semester. He made valuable improvements to the program, including a wage increase for student participants.

Employer of the Year (For-Profit)
Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance is making an impact on internship programs in the insurance industry. In 2017, the company revamped its 13-year-old internship program and doubled the number of interns. One successful initiative is the program's capstone project. Interns are divided into teams to create commercials promoting the internship program and its value to fostering internship excellence. Once finished, the projects are showcased during a last-day luncheon with peers, mentors, supervisors and executive leadership members. The best video is displayed on the company's web site.

Employer of the Year (Non-Profit)
Bowman Creek Educational Ecosystem tackles socio-economic and environmental issues in South Bend by partnering with community organizations, city government and educational institutions. Last summer, the program had the largest group of participants with 30 interns and 22 project mentors. Interns work in teams to design a solution for a real-life issue in the community. They conduct research and interviews, develop strategies and present their findings to relevant stakeholder groups. Since these are substantive issues, the community partners and stakeholders are vital to the continued success of the projects.

College Intern of the Year
Jerica Mitchell’s internship with the Indiana Minority Health Coalition was originally scheduled to run for two months. The organization adjusted the budget, however, to extend her time there. Mitchell's career aspirations of being an executive director of a non-profit organization or a hospital administrator perfectly align with her internship. Her skills in outreach proved valuable in creating connections and building relationships. One of her duties was inviting businesses to attend presentations or participate as vendors at an event.

High School Intern of the Year
Camisa Vines made the most of her summer breaks in high school. After studying youth coding and computer programming at South Bend Code School in 2015, Vines obtained an internship with a local technology company. Two years later, she returned to the coding school as an instructor. Her role included assisting with a summer camp program that had over 100 student applicants (ages seven to 18). Vines served as a lead instructor and made sure each student felt confident with the materials they were learning.

Non-Traditional Intern of the Year
Miranda Goodwin served as a role model to other interns at the Wabash Valley Community Foundation due to her excellent time-management skills and hard-working attitude. The majority of her internship was dedicated to working on the organization's legacy albums, which contain stories of those who have created endowment funds. Through reading provided material, researching other sources and interviewing donors or their relatives, Goodwin skillfully composed each narrative with emotion and purpose. She also provided support for staff members in administration, marketing and communications, and affiliate relations.

If your organization would like to start an internship program, or if you’re looking for assistance with expanding your current program, Indiana INTERNnet is here to help. We provide a web site to facilitate student-employer matches at no cost and we also have instructional resources to help you build a standout internship program. You can also download our helpful employer guide.

To register for our free services, visit www.IndianaINTERN.net or call (317) 264-6852 to speak with our staff about your internship needs.

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