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LEARNING THROUGH INTERNING\ NEED EXPERIENCE? AN INTERNSHIP MAY BE YOUR KEY TO SUCCESS

LEARNING THROUGH INTERNING\ NEED EXPERIENCE? AN INTERNSHIP MAY BE YOUR KEY TO SUCCESS

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As far as internships go, Bethany Bauman's is a bit different from most.

She is a master's student at UNCG who spent the summer at King's English Advertising and Public Relations, working as a public relations intern. Though Bauman has returned to her communication studies curriculum at UNCG, she has remained with King's English, continuing to work on the projects that she started in the summer.``You don't have a lot of internships at the graduate level,' Bauman said. ``(They) are kind of hard to come by. I kind of have an open-ended internship, too.'

This is Bauman's fourth internship, and King's English has been especially unique from the usual coffee-and-doughnut-fetching internships, she said.

``I think the thing that really makes my internships stand out from other internships I've done is the willingness of my superiors to tailor the internship to my needs,' Bauman said.

Though the normal internship is thought of as a summer experience for college undergraduates, opportunities are plentiful in Greensboro for both students and nonstudents no matter what time of year it is.

Many companies offer work experience throughout the year that will help potential employees enhance their job skills.

Machine Specialities of Greensboro offers a program for high school students that introduces them to metal-working, but it also plans a similar program for adults.

``I think our program is rather unique and more than the average internship,' said Joe Landry, vice president of Machine Specialities, which has about 45 employees.

In the summer between junior and senior year, students work full time at Machine Specialities. They are paid between $7 and $8 an hour, Landry said.

During their senior year, the students work 10 to 20 hours a week at the site and are required to take some mathematics, physics and technical-writing classes. They are not obligated to return to Machine Specialities after they graduate, Landry said, but three or four graduates of the program are working as metal workers at Machine Specialities.

``My motive is two-fold,' Landry said. ``I like to help kids. To me it doesn't matter where the kids work, as long as the competitors are doing the same thing. The problem is that it's hard for us to train and lose these kids to our competitors when our competitors don't offer any training.'

Machine Specialities is one of 30 local industrial companies taking part in the same program. N.C. A&T started the program five years ago after a persistent shortage of manpower in the industrial arena. Landry said there was a mistaken belief in the 1980s that machines would be able to replace a lot of workers.

``Today, there is just an unbelievable shortage of people with metal-working skills,' Landry said.

The initiative targets those who don't plan to attend college for four years.

``I think college is a great experience, but it's not for everybody,' Landry said. ``If you don't know what you want to be, then it doesn't always help.'

By next summer, Landry wants to have a similar apprenticeship in place for adults. The idea is still on the drawing board, but Landry said it should serve as an extension of the existing program, although it would be open to anyone.

``Metal-working is not something that you learn in a couple of weeks,' Landry said. ``It can take five years to become a true metal-worker.'

The Center for Creative Leadership is a nonprofit organization that specializes in leadership research and education. Its interns, who are graduate students and sometimes at the Ph.D. level, stay with the organization for up to two years.

``It connects us to people who are going to then go out and pursue research,' said Cindy McCauley, vice president for new initiatives at the center. ``It helps us network.'

McCauley said the center looks for new interns about once every six months by advertising at area universities such as UNC-Chapel Hill and N.C. State. The interns are usually in the field of psychology.

The center pays its interns a salary, and McCauley said the internships have led to full-time work.

``They get the experience of being involved in an applied research project,' she said. 'They benefit by developing relationships with senior researchers.'

Goodwill Industries also has programs that aren't internships in the traditional sense. But they do provide a window to job possibilities. Its programs take place in classroom settings, where people get the chance to perfect new skills.

Its older clientele are usually referred to Goodwill by an insurance agency, but that's not always the case, said Joseph Dix, community relations specialist for Goodwill Industries.

``They come in and take the classes in the hope of getting a better job,' Dix said.

All year long, in three- to six-month programs, people come in and learn new skills in retail and sales, food services and computer technology, Dix said.

``It's for people who want to go in a different direction,' Dix said. ``Maybe before they were standing up, and now they need a job that allows them to sit down.'

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