How To Begin
To determine if sponsoring an intern is the right choice for you, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you have a specific project or assignment that will provide a quality working and learning opportunity for an intern?
- Can you commit time to develop a student, promote community goodwill, and offer insight into your organization?
- Can you benefit from the latest technology, perspectives, and relevant skills being used in our schools?
- Do you want to help mold the future of your industry talent?
If you answered yes to all of these questions then you are ready to sponsor an intern!
Sponsoring an Intern
Step 1: Determine if sponsoring an intern is right for your agency (see questions above).
Step 2: Determine the best time to hire an intern using the table below.
|Intern Start Date
||Recruiting Time Frame
|Summer: starting May/June
||March – May
|Spring: starting January/February
||November – January
|Fall: starting August/September
||June – August
Roles And Responsibilities
A sponsor’s role is shaping the intern’s perception of state government. The state agency’s image on campus, either positive or negative, will be reflected by the intern’s experience.
The role of a sponsor is critical to the value of a student’s internship experience. Having an intern is a time commitment. The ideal sponsor should be achievement oriented, highly motivated, and a leader capable of providing on-going and timely feedback regarding performance.
A sponsor is responsible for the following:
- Introducing the intern to agency structure and operation
- Introducing the intern to agency policies and procedures regarding use of property, appropriate dress, office hours, and applicable leave policies
- Introducing the intern to the appropriate professional and clerical staff
- Providing the intern with sufficient resources necessary to accomplish project objectives
- Allowing the intern an opportunity to participate in meetings, conferences, and other personnel and management functions
- Assigning and supervising the completion of tasks and responsibilities that are consistent with the intern’s role in the agency
- Consulting with ADOA in the event the sponsor becomes aware of personal, communication, or other problems that are disrupting the intern’s learning and performance
- Providing regular and on-going feedback sessions with the intern
- Submitting a final performance evaluation related to the intern’s performance
Interns are very different from regular employees. Training is a primary variable of the internship and should be on-going. Sponsoring an intern is a unique opportunity that combines teaching with mentorship and guidance.
At the end of the assignment, the sponsor will evaluate the intern’s performance. The Intern Performance Evaluation form must be completed and filed in the student folder.
Preparing For Your Intern
If your intern’s start date is at least a month or more after the acceptance of the internship offer, it is important to maintain communication. Depending on the time gap between offer acceptance and actual start date, you will want to check in with your intern at least monthly with something as simple as a quick courtesy email or to provide general information, if appropriate. This promotes goodwill with the intern while easing the anticipated stress of starting a new program.
1 Month Prior To The Intern’s Arrival
Review the project expectations with key department and division stakeholders – those who will be directly involved with the intern – to ensure expectations are clearly set and understood.
2 Weeks Prior To Intern’s Arrival
- Designate a workstation for the intern and ensure that it is clean
- Stock the intern’s workstation with all necessary office supplies – computer, phone, paper, pens, etc.
- Complete all necessary forms required for badge and parking access
- Call the intern to confirm start date and time, location of office, the parking situation, etc.
- Distribute a welcome card
- Establish job shadowing and training schedules with other sponsors
- Prepare a packet of agency relevant forms and information – division expectations, organizational chart, policies and procedures, list of holidays, etc.
- Meet the intern after orientation and accompany him/her to the workstation
- Introduce the intern to team members and support staff
- Take the intern on a tour of the building and work area, making certain to point out the locations of restrooms, copiers, fax machines, the cafeteria, the break room, etc.
- Orient the intern to the area – nearby buildings, restaurants, etc.
- Advise the intern of emergency evacuation procedures
- Explain building access and security requirements
- Explain the agency dynamics and functions
- Explain open door policy and work style
- Get birthday and emergency contact information
- Provide a schedule of agency meetings
- Provide the agency phone list
- Review intern expectations
- Instruct the intern to read agency policies and procedures manual
- Allow the intern time to set up the workstation, including telephone voice mail and email
- Have the intern sign the Attendance Agreement (included at the end of this document) and provide him/her with a copy
- Encourage questions
Managing The Intern Process
The following timeline may be a useful guide to help you manage the intern process:
- Conduct a one-on-one with the intern
- Review assigned project tasks and learning objectives
- Discuss project expectations and check for understanding
- Encourage input on the project or assignment
- Communicate successful performance measures on outlined deliverables
- Set an expectation that in future one-on-one’s the intern should be prepared to discuss progress against deliverables
Throughout The Internship
Encourage the intern’s development and learning by allowing participation in events facilitated by your agency, division, and ADOA internship coordinators.
Conclusion Of The Internship
- Conduct a final one-on-one evaluation with the intern to review performance.
- Identify progress made, recognize areas of achievement, and determine areas for further instruction, training, or development.