Developing Future Leaders

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How one company structures its internship and development programs to produce top-notch future employees and give students invaluable real-world experience.

DEAR FUTURE PARKING PROFESSIONAL: Whether it’s your first internship or third, finding a company to work for during your summer break or even while you are taking classes can be a daunting task. Ideally, you want to work for a company that will allow you to learn as much as possible about your industry rather than limiting you to one aspect or department. Post-graduation, you may also be looking for a professional development program or apprenticeship that can give you an opportunity to work for a company during a six-month period as a way to test the waters or get your foot in the door.

Getting Started

The first step for students seeking an internship is to research companies they want to work for and compile a wish list of skills they want to obtain. Most companies will include information about their philosophy, unique value proposition, and case studies about past projects or press releases announcing new projects won. Social media is also an excellent way to gain insight into a company’s culture. For example, a company may post information about projects under construction on its LinkedIn page or post pictures of employee events or community service projects on Facebook. Doing some due diligence to look into a company’s culture is a great way to prepare for an interview.

 

In addition, personal references are important. If you can find students who have previously done internships at the company of your choice, you can ask them about the type of work they got to do and whether they were able to add any of the project work to their ...