As summer slowly fades away and interns return to their campuses, there are significant lessons to be learned about the impact and opportunities these young people have to help Indiana position itself as a global tech hub.
Interns offer insight into the ways we can better create access, cultivate inclusivity and lay a clear path that can be walked by many more future professionals to become part of Indiana’s tech workforce and help minimize the global tech talent challenge that lies ahead. As we work together as a community to amplify TechPoint’s efforts to increase the Indiana workforce by 41,000 by 2030, here are a few ways to develop and implement an internship program that can help build a pipeline of diverse talent for the future.
Make internships accessible
A 2020 McKinsey study found that the most diverse companies out-earn their less diverse peers by 36%. It is imperative that tech companies in Indiana keep top of mind how we can expand entry points for students and foster an inclusive environment once they are in our workplace.
A few key factors include providing paid internships with flexible schedules and remote work opportunities that accommodate summer coursework, additional part-time jobs and family obligations. Additionally, helping inform interns of housing options should they be relocating for the summer from out-of-state and benefits such as access to health and wellness or snacks and meals are all factors which help attract talent and support interns both personally and professionally.
Consequently, it is imperative to remember that students bring the experiences from their internship back into the classroom and share with others. Therefore, creating advocates who have experienced first-hand Indiana’s thriving and supportive tech scene for a summer will keep our state on the radar for many other students and entry-level applicants for years to come.
Coach high potential talent and give them the tools to succeed
Proper planning is key to a successful internship. Set expectations early, make their first day memorable and most importantly, give your team the tools and encouragement they need to positively mentor and help interns get involved and succeed.
Mentorship and matching students with the best suited manager is one of the most vital elements to a successful internship experience. Mentors offer perspective, connect interns with someone in the workplace who may share the same lived experience, integrate them into the organization, share the company culture and help them see paths and career outcomes through work on real projects that can solidify the intern’s future career goals.
Furthermore, the relationships that are cultivated over the summer often have a lasting impact long after the internship ends.
Be open to opportunities for collaboration
Meeting the current demand for tech talent means being open to partnerships and collaborations. From experiences such as TechPoint’s Xtern program to partnerships with Kenzie Academy and shared internships with institutions of higher education, it’s going to take innovative thinking to grow the talent and networks we need to continue to thrive.
A current pharmacy student and one of hc1’s 2022 summer interns said, “I was seeking the skills and knowledge about a developing avenue in healthcare IT. I believe in precision health and the fact that it is enhancing the landscape in medicine. I wanted to be able to develop my own opinion experientially to see if I could see myself doing this type of work as a niche route of pharmacy application compared to traditional pharmacy pathways.”
Giving him the opportunity to integrate health IT into his education and explore new and maturing technologies helps eliminate the deficit in digital health knowledge and plants the seed for healthtech as a future career option and demonstrates how our worlds are interconnected.
We are proof positive that collaboration works as a number of former interns initially matched with hc1 out of these collaborations have become full-time professionals on our team.
Exploring is a vital part of the college experience. Creating greater access and a broader pathway for students firsthand to know what working in the healthtech industry, the fastest growing vertical within the healthcare sector, is all about. It will be a key to meeting the global tech talent challenges we face and creating equitable regional prosperity for those seeking their dream job in tech.