For students who think that interns are solely coffee jockeys who slave away pro bono, that’s neither always the case, nor the intention.
The Dixie State University Career Center will be implementing two new programs to enhance internship opportunities for DSU students in February. These programs are Dixie Interns and Dixie Career Tours.
“An internship is an opportunity to ‘be in’ with a company, to learn the ropes behind it and develop skills,” DSU Internship Coordinator Shane Blocker said.
Blocker said many graduates struggle to find jobs after graduation because they lack a certain showmanship.
“It’s not that there aren’t jobs because there are definitely jobs and careers out there, but it’s that students aren’t marketing themselves that great,” Blocker said.
This is mostly due to students cultivating an imbalance of “hard” and “soft” skills. Blocker said hard skills are based on degree-specific knowledge. For example, an English major is required to learn advanced writing, grammar and American literature in order to graduate. These “hard” skills are particular to a degree and prepare students for a future in that field.
Blocker said “soft” skills are the non-academic talents and experiences students need to learn along the way to graduation. These skills include interactive, communicative and organizational skills. “Soft” skills are typically learned outside the classroom in extracurricular internships or events.
“It’s ‘soft’ skills that will set graduates apart from other job applicants with degrees,” Blocker said.
In order to help students market themselves better and prepare for post graduation, the first program the Career Center will introduce is Dixie Interns.
The Career Center’s internship board on the DSU website operates similarly to job listings. Once an internship is filled, it is removed from the site. The Dixie Interns program will change that by creating static internships from semester to semester for students to continually apply. Some internships might be every spring and fall semesters while others might be consistently summer internships.
“Dixie Regional Medical Center and Best Friends Animal Sanctuary are two organizations for sure that will be accepting applications for Dixie Interns in February, and we will be adding more companies as we establish permanent relationships with them,” Blocker said.
In conjunction with Dixie Interns, the Career Center’s second program, Dixie Career Tours, will accelerate student’s skills in the workplace literally.
“Dixie Career Tours are based on open house-type settings on location at a company’s facility for students to understand what work life is like and to network with executives that are hiring regularly,” Blocker said.
These open houses are meant to be informal occasions to explore workplaces and ask questions, but students may dress formally and bring résumés as well. Some of the first businesses on the tour list include BusyBusy, a tech firm, and weBoost, a company dedicated to cellular signal boosting.
“Most students think, ‘I’ll get my degree and then I’ll figure it out,’” Blocker said. “It’s important to think about post-graduation now. Internships are the number one way to get in with employers and establish those ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ skills.”
Kaylee Kirkland, a senior accounting major from St. George, will begin her internship in February, thanks to the Career Center.
“I wanted to participate in an internship to get as much real life, hands-on experience as possible. I was able to meet with Blocker and he set me up for success by telling me what I needed to bring and how to present my résumé. They are very helpful [at the Career Center],” Kirkland said.
To be up-to-date on upcoming events and opportunities, the Career Center will be publishing dates and applications on their web page in February.
For any questions regarding future internship opportunities, email Shane Blocker at Blocker@dixie.edu. To schedule appointments at the Career Center or to submit feedback for past Career Center activities, call 435-652-7737.