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Consider an intern as you pivot through coronavirus

OK, we’re all trying to figure out how to get beyond “the new normal.” (Blah, I am rather done with that cliché.)

We’re all pivoting and starting to explore how to get people back to “working” again – not to mention helping businesses be “in business.” Every day, I hear from owners who are looking for people to hire. “Short-staffed” is a new term/cliché that I’m hearing regularly.

Here’s my latest “Jack’s world” idea for the business community: Consider an intern. Interns are a great way for you to work with someone wanting to gain real world experience. Times have changed and interns used to work for free so they could garner valued experience to add to their resumes upon graduation. However, paid internships are now the norm, whether its hourly, stipend or by the project/job.

Fort Lewis College (as of this writing) is planning to bring students back to campus for in-person classes in late August. Most people don’t keep this top of mind, but I want to remind you all: Because Durango has the college population, our town is more vibrant and has thrived/survived better than most Western Slope towns for decades. We don’t yet know how many students will physically return to campus, but preliminary numbers are looking good.

I encourage you to consider an intern. You can create an account on “Handshake” and the program will walk you through the process and match you with the right intern.

Having an intern might help you recover from “the COVID challenge.” And there are potential interns from a variety of disciplines as well as the other schools at FLC – engineering, technology, art, music, science. Check out the stellar in-coming talent.

One factor you can count on, these young adults know technology. As our communication and shopping trends become more reliant on social media and websites, they know how to navigate the ever changing platforms, often better than us seasoned folks. I want to remind businesses that you will have to be engaged with your intern. Your student intern can’t possibly know your business’ mission better than you do. But an advantage an intern has is that they can focus on the task at hand and will complete the project quicker than expected. Why? Because they are not interrupted by daily distractions.

All that said, these innovative young minds can potentially bring new ideas to your business. Yes, some of the concepts they come up with might not be feasible, financially or logistically, but they’re looking at things from a new, fresh perspective. Listen to them and you might be surprised at the new ideas that can help propel you business and our community forward in “these challenging times.” (Blah.)

Be part of the solution and pass along your knowledge to the next generation through your years of experience and leadership. Internships give someone an inside view of what a career can offer, and it gives you the opportunity to possibly find your next employee. One of the greatest rewards is being a mentor; consider paying it forward with an intern.

Jack Llewellyn is executive director of the Durango Chamber of Commerce. Contact him at jack@durangobusiness.org.