Take Time for an Intern

My son is a culinary student, and as part of the program this summer, he has an internship at the White Barn Inn Restaurant in Kennebunkport, Maine. He’s loving the experience, learning a lot, and having a great time.

In early spring when he began exploring places to do his internship, I knew that finding the right placement would make the difference between this being a good experience or not. It turns out the fit is perfect. Yes, he’s working long hours (longer than me, he likes to remind me), but he’s fitting in with his colleagues and really appreciates the feedback and mentorship of the chef.

I’m not sure my son can fully appreciate it yet, but I believe one day he will look back at this internship experience as a pivotal moment in his life. And he will have an even greater appreciation that the restaurant and chef “took a chance” on him. The chef not only gave him a job, but also took time to encourage and mentor him.

After watching my son go through the process of finding an internship, I decided we at ACHIEVE should open ourselves up to having an intern this summer. Over the years we have received requests for internship placements, but we usually turned them down. Our attitude was that “taking care” of an intern was not an efficient use of our organization’s time. However, my attitude about interns has now softened.

Shortly after my son secured his placement, I received an email from a university that had reached out to me in the past about a need to place interns. This time, instead of writing the request off, I decided to explore it further. Of the five students looking for an internship, I felt there was one that would be a good fit for us, and we for him. After an interview and some internal conversations about what tasks to assign and how to best support him, we offered him the position.

We are several months into having our intern, and it’s going great. Yes, there is some time required to support him, but he’s also giving us great work. Further to this, it also feels good to know we are contributing to a young person’s development in the same way a chef I’ve never met is contributing to my son’s development.

My encouragement for those who’ve never considered it is to be open to the possibility of an intern. Reach out to your local colleges and universities and let them know you are open to hearing about their internship placement needs.

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Randy Grieser, Author & Speaker

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