Most professionals today spend a great deal of time performing a somewhat dangerous juggling act. Working men and women are constantly trying to satisfy the needs of both their families and their businesses, without dropping the ball on either end. This hectic schedule may work for day-to-day maintenance rituals, but often leaves little time for answering difficult questions such as:
"Will my children have the skills they need to have successful professional careers when they enter the workforce?" and "How can my company cut down on training and recruitment costs, without losing our best employment candidates to the competition?"
On the surface, these may seem two separate issues, but they are two sides of the same coin. Workforce readiness is vital to the success of families, as well as businesses.
National Alliance of Business stated, "The workforce of the future may be younger and better educated, but its members might not be qualified for the available jobs. By 2028, the demand for workers with at least some postsecondary education will leave as many as 18 million skilled positions unfilled, according to Alliance projections." (National Alliance of Business - Work America, Fall 2001).
So how do we address this startling statistic? By bridging the gap between business and education to provide our students with the workplace skills they need.
One of the most effective ways of preparing students for the workforce is through an internship program. For students, internships provide an inside look at the business world and one specific career track, while they are still in school. For businesses, internship programs provide an opportunity to look at and bond with tomorrow's best employment candidates today, fresh new ideas and help with special projects. Interns bring enthusiasm back into the workplace, and give as much, if not more, back to the office as they receive in experience. Many companies find themselves hiring their interns after they graduate, providing a new employee already accustomed to their way of doing business. A win-win situation for all involved.