Commercial Integrator September 2022 - 68

TALENT The Next Generation
Internship Best Practices By Barry Grossman
I could bore you with my perspective on mentoring and engaging the next generation,
but today's focus is on my experience fine-tuning an internship program. Here,
I'm drawing on my background in live events and broadcasting.
During my tenure at Scharff Weisberg/WorldStage, there were several iterations
of the internship program. Attending a New York SMPTE 2014 monthly chapter
meeting, I met some New York City College of Technology (City Tech) students. As
typical during an event, I handed out business cards, telling people, " If you want an
internship, feel free to contact me. " Some students contacted me. We used this as an
opportunity to reimagine the technical internship program at WorldStage.
What are the best practices for an internship?
1. Focus on teaching basics. At WorldStage, we started interns in the cable
shop. Understanding differences in power cable and video cable is critical to a
successful show.
2. The goal is to have students shadow to learn from workers. Over the last
decade or two, there has been an effort to have proper internships. Whether
they're for college credit or whether they're paid, the purpose is not to replace
paid staff.
3. Provide a variety of learning opportunities. Instead of just focusing on
audio, a student would spend the first part of the reimagined WorldStage
internship running " the circuit, " spending a day or two in every department in
the staging shop. Only after completing the circuit would they then specialize in
one of the shop depart-ments.
4. Provide show site opportunities. Having done this in the past, there are
times for teaching and times for looking and learning later.
5. Meet students on a regular basis to get feedback. What do they like?
What could be better? Express interest in feedback and be responsive to it.
6. Casually ENGAGE with students during the day. I would spend time working
in the shop with the goal of seeing what was happening and engaging with
these team members. Consider inviting the students to lunch.
What else, beyond an internship program, can benefit a live events or commercial
AV company? An apprentice program! For many young people, this will be their first
" real " job. The goal should be to have active mentoring/training during the first year.
The COVID-19 pandemic did a lot of damage across many areas of the economy and
society, and internship programs were no exception. A lot of live-event companies
dropped internship programs over the past couple of years. Trying to place students
in other companies has also been a challenge. In conversations I've had with some
companies in the New York City area this past spring, I was told they were too busy
and did not have the supervision to stage a proper internship program.
If you're looking to jumpstart an internship or apprenticeship program, feel free
to contact me at barryg@barrygtechnologies.com. I'd be happy to help.
Barry Grossman is the owner/engineer of BarryG Technologies LLC.
like. Thus, she advises them (and everyone)
to " Learn to learn yourself. " CliftonStrength
Assessment is a tool that helps to identify
what a person's greatest strengths are; that
way, they can develop their strengths and
then apply them to their work.
For example, some interns love to
provide support as a helpdesk agent,
68
whereas others might find it hard to come
up with a helpful answer on the spot. Some
might instead prefer to sit back and think
about a solution to a problem. " Everybody
has different strengths, and you just have
to figure out how to apply them, " Clover
advises. " The earlier we can [attract student
interns], the better, because [we] want them
Commercial Integrator SEPTEMBER 2022
CTI looks for students near the end of their
two- or four-year program and brings
them in for 10 weeks over the summer.
to identify areas that they want to focus on
while they still have time to modify their
own learning priorities at school. "
Find Your Passion
Jim Gruening, co-founder and senior vice
president of Mechdyne, says, " I would much
rather hire somebody full time, or have them
join our team, if they already know what they
are passionate about and what they want to
do. " Those employees, he believes, will be
happier and more productive. Speaking of
productivity, interns can really help to drive
it. " Interns help push us in ways that we
haven't thought of previously, " Gruening
acknowledges. " Our culture really values
everyone's ideas and suggestions. Some of
the best ideas come from our interns. "
And the benefits that a strong group of
interns can provide don't end there. Clover
adds that only once interns are on the team
can you really begin to see all the opportunities.
For example, when Mechdyne works
at Iowa State University and needs extra
hands on a project, the trained interns from
the summer can dive in and help out.
Ultimately, one conclusion is inescapable:
Internship programs are an efficient
model to provide long-term company
growth and develop talent within our
industry. Having an internship program is
something that many integration firms can't
afford not to do. After all, the interns of
today might well be the leaders of tomorrow,
and the decisions that companies
make today will directly shape their own
future, as well as that of the AV industry
broadly. CI
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Commercial Integrator September 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Commercial Integrator September 2022

Commercial Integrator September 2022 - Cover1
Commercial Integrator September 2022 - Cover2
Commercial Integrator September 2022 - 1
Commercial Integrator September 2022 - 2
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