Are you a startup looking to maximize opportunities for high schoolers at your company?
The Empowerly Startup Internship Program (SIP) offers an excellent way for students to gain valuable experience in their chosen field, as well as improve their chances of getting into the college of their dreams. This mutually beneficial program helps startups expedite tasks or execute projects by being paired with talented, hungry-to-learn high-school interns at no cost to the company. Stay tuned to learn more about building an internship program!
In this blog post, we’ll share highlights from our chat with Montana Busch, the founder of Spotivity. Spotivity is an after-school extracurricular program locator for teens. Montana has partnered with the Empowerly SIP program since 2019 and currently works with 10+ interns. Our conversation outlines the steps to building a robust internship program for high schoolers, focusing on designing an effective program and ensuring interns’ success. Are you a high schooler applying to our Startup Internship Program? The second section is for you! In the second part of the blog, we’ll provide tips and tricks for future SIP students.
What are some best practices for managing an internship program?
“Creating a strong internship program requires an iterative process. It’s not enough to just copy what you did in the first pass. You need to be flexible and constantly adjust the program to best meet the needs of the students.”–Montana Busch, Founder of Spotivity
Set age-appropriate expectations
When it comes to managing an internship program for high schoolers, it’s important to remember that these students are still young. When setting expectations for interns, be sure that you don’t treat them like little kids—but also, have realistic expectations for a teenager. Let them have second or third chances. Montana suggests that the students must take the initiative to be granted additional chances.
Hire a project manager for your interns
Spotivity has a dedicated supervisor managing the cohort of student interns. This helps keep everything organized and provides the interns with an assigned person to ask for assistance. Collaborate with the project manager and leadership to build a robust and scalable program. Have the project manager mentor interns, who can then assist new interns in a peer-to-peer mentorship model.
Mix up the messenger
Sometimes teens won’t get instructions the first time. Or second. Or third. That’s ok! Don’t get frustrated. Try it again differently or have another mentor or peer their own age explain.
Build habits together
Work on checking email or other tasks until it becomes a habit. Use peers and group work to establish accountability. Have them work together and support one another.
Measure output rather than time on task
Spotivity has no required attendance or specific workflow. Students take the initiative to tackle projects and stay engaged by the motivation of the idea that their name will be on a blog post or paper at the end of their internship. Having students take ownership of their projects helps promote independent working models. Measuring results instead of micromanaging time spent on the task focuses on developing skills and growth rather than just putting in the hours.
Provide regular opportunities for feedback and support
Montana offers weekly office hours to troubleshoot or seek help. Feedback is essential in any internship program, especially for high schoolers. Providing feedback in a mentorship setting helps them understand what they need to improve on and how to better utilize their skills. It can also be motivating for them as they work towards meeting their goals. Sometimes students don’t know how to communicate in a style that meets everyone’s needs. Pre-scheduled office hours provide a platform for students to get their questions answered.
Set clear expectations, and have a full plan from start to finish
Before the internship begins, it’s important to make sure that both the intern and supervisor have a clear understanding of what is expected of them. Make sure that both parties know what tasks they will be responsible for, how they should communicate, and what success looks like in terms of the outcomes of the internship. It is also important to develop ground rules for the student so that they know exactly what they need to deliver to remain an intern at the company.
Welcome to the second part of this blog! This is for the students. Enjoy!
Tips and Tricks for Students Applying to Empowerly Internships
“I’m not looking for a huge level of professionalism by way of work deliverables. I’m looking for a teenager that is switched on, willing to engage, and has a high level of communication skills. The interview should showcase their ability to have great communication skills and a certain amount of enthusiasm. Everything else can be learned.”— Montana, Founder of Spotivity
- Prepare your resume and cover letter carefully. Highlight any relevant skills you have, and be sure to explain why you’re a good fit for the role.
- Showcase your communication skills – make sure you demonstrate that you’re an effective communicator in both written and verbal forms.
- Be enthusiastic and engaged – come to the interview with an open mind and ready to learn. Show that you’re eager to take on any tasks or challenges you may face as an intern.
- Demonstrate your initiative – include in your application any relevant activities or experiences that highlight your initiative-taking skills.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions – Show that you’re curious about the role. Feel free to ask questions to the interviewer about the job or the company to ensure you have a full understanding of what is expected from you.
Thanks for coming along with us as we shared Montana’s top tips and tricks for building a robust and sustainable internship program for high schoolers! We hope you found these ideas and tips helpful!
Want more info about how to land an internship?
Are you a student who wants to be an Empowerly Startup Intern? Please read more about the program here!
Are you a company that wants interns? Empowerly handles all the logistics from sourcing and screening to matching students for specific roles. Companies only step in once they’re interested in moving forward with a candidate. To participate this summer, all you have to do is sign up to be a professional member of our internship matching program here: https://www.join.empowerly.com/get-interns.
Need more info or have more questions? E-mail Empowerly SIP at firstname.lastname@example.org or book a consultation below. To learn more about Montana and his project, please check out his website here: https://www.spotivity.com/.