Town & Gown: JSU, Chamber partner for internships
An article by Heather Greene, graduate assistant in the Office of Public Relations at JSU.

So, you have finished your finals, balanced your student account, received your cap and gown, and are ready to take that walk which took years to achieve? Congratulations! When you receive that diploma and walk off that stage and into your future, where will your degree take you? For most college graduates the search for a job becomes their next obstacle after graduation. However, studies are showing that students who participate in an internship program have a much greater chance of landing a job, quite often within the very company with which they interned. So, why not consider doing an internship in your field of study?

The Calhoun County Chamber and JSU Partnership Team is working together to allow students the opportunity “to test drive the career of their dreams,” according to Emily Duncan, who works as the Member Services Coordinator and Internship Coordinator at the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce (CCCC). Duncan recalls her own internship time “as the most beneficial experience” she had in college and hopes to continue working to “connect area businesses to the talent field that is JSU.”

The partnership is designed to give students hands-on experience in their career field during their upperclassman years or post-graduation. Besides allowing a student to gain valuable skills in his or her career field, an internship can quite often lead to a job. Duncan states that “according to Forbes, 90% of 2011 direct from college hires went to those with internship experience. In response to that, we have had fifteen area businesses and organizations post internship opportunities via Internships.com.” The hope is that Calhoun County will be able to train, hire, and retain many of the outstanding graduates produced by JSU.

Set to graduate in May 2013, Georgiana Nicole Andrews is a marketing major at JSU who is now serving as an intern at the CCCC. Andrews learned of the internship program through her JSU professors and advisors. When asked why she chose to apply for an internship, she replied, “Like most of my fellow soon to be college graduates from around the world, I know that the economy and job market are not where we would like them to be…By having hands-on experience before I graduate, I hope to place myself a step ahead of my competition.”

Andrews feels that an internship would prove beneficial to any student. On her personal experience through the program, she states, “After being a part of this program, I have to say that being able to have an opportunity to network, gets hands-on experience, and receive advice and education that can only be learned through experience has been wonderful…I feel the internship has given me the opportunity to apply the skills that I have been taught in the classroom to practical experiences.”

Becca Turner, director of Career Services at JSU, has been involved with the intern partnership program and hopes “for Calhoun County Chamber members and non-member employers, to see the value in the degree programs offered at Jacksonville State University and to utilize the talent that our students have to offer to their company, rather than recruiting outside of our area, to meet the needs of the company.” Turner encourages JSU students to seek out internships early on and to utilize the resources available to them through the Office of Career Services in room 207 Merrill Hall on the campus of JSU.

For students interested in the program, The Calhoun County Chamber and JSU Partnership Team will present an event once a semester called Internship and Leadership Panel Discussion. This semester’s panel discussion will be held at the Hampton Inn in Jacksonville on October 30 from 4:00p.m.-6:00p.m. A panel of area business leaders will be present to talk to interested students and answer any questions they may have. This semester’s panel line up will be: Amie Hinton, Lagarde Properties; Tommie Goggins, Capital Management Advisors; Anna-Marie Moorer, ERA King Real Estate; Margaret Roberts, Wells Fargo; Greg Brown, B.R. Williams Trucking and Logistics; and possibly various other members of the Chamber. Any business members of the CCCC are invited to attend.

Anniston Market President for Wells Fargo, Margaret Roberts, who will be among the business representatives at the panel discussion, states, “We’re looking for a student who is anxious to get some real-life experience in a field that is either their major area of study or at least a good fit for that student’s skills….It always helps to have some actual experience along with that diploma when doing a job search.”

For the panel discussion, admission is free. Students may wish to bring a copy of their resume, as various businesses will be represented. It is important to keep in mind that landing an internship is no guarantee for a job, but does provide invaluable experience and quite often leads to job opportunities. For more information about applying for a Calhoun County Chamber and JSU Partnership Team internship, please visit www.internships.com or contact Lola Johnston in Career Services at JSU, 256-782-5092 or email lmjohnston@jsu.edu.
© 2012