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samantha croppedAt the Improve Group, our commitment to ongoing learning, professional development and internal growth opportunities extends beyond our regular staff to our intern staff as well.  The internship program at the Improve Group has been of great value in a two-way direction; for the intern, and for us as an organization. We have consistently improved and expanded the internship process to arrive at our current model.

The planning, selection and integration process is as follows:

  • Planning begins in January of each year to assess what our team and group needs will be for the upcoming cycle of internships, which typically begin in summer.  The leadership team makes suggestions about the kind of skills that will be needed and the project opportunities we will have for interns.
  • Recruitment starts in March and is directed toward those university and college programs that have curriculum in the areas matched to our needs.  Typically, this has been evaluation, statistics, community planning, marketing, secondary language…etc.
  • Top candidates are interviewed by a team of 2-3 IG staff.  The cross team approach enables us to gain deeper perspectives in the areas in which the intern will be working. During the process we are looking to match our company needs with both experience and interests of the applicants.
  • Once selected, interns participate in orientations to familiarize themselves with the organizations values and practices.  During this time, they will complete tasks like human subject training, timesheet reporting, outlook set up, attend team meetings and discover our brand and its history.

After the onboarding process, Improve Group Interns are:

  • placed on a team and given project tasks immediately;
  • engaged in 1:1, staff and team meetings;
  • ensured professional growth and development opportunities that provide a rich experience;
  • work on both client-facing and internal work so they get exposed to a full range of tasks;

and;

  • encouraged to participate in social events with staff (a welcoming environment is a value we practice).

Some amazing experiences past interns have had as part of our team include:

  • travelling to Dominican Republic and Nicaragua with a team to provide Spanish translation and evaluation work;
  • travelling in greater Minnesota in support of ongoing evaluation projects;
  • reporting on evaluation findings and providing recommendations for clients
  • developing critical thinking and reporting skills alongside fellow interns
  • discovering evaluation techniques that are foundations for carrying out evaluation practices today
  • generating ideas about streamlining analysis and identifying most important findings
  • interacting with new and diverse communities from around the world.

Interns at the Improve Group are integral to our core mission of helping organizations make the most of information, navigate complexity and ensure their investments of time and money lead to meaningful, sustained impact.  Interns bring fresh new ideas and perspectives, a great deal of energy, and commitment to their work. In addition, we have the chance to help prepare future leaders with analytic, creative skills. We value the contribution they make and are always striving to provide a rich learning environment.  Our goal is to help them as they navigate the field of evaluation…do they want to be an evaluator, what areas excite or intimidate them, what relationships are they building now that will lead to opportunities in the future.  Our partner article in this month’s newsletter comes from the interns themselves.  They speak to the experiences that helped them transition into full time staff here at the Improve Group. We are very proud of each person who has made this journey with us.

Posted: June 27th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Improve Groove Newsletter | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

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